Depression, Anxiety, Pressure and megachurches

Big churches with many dreams but also with anxiety

In the church world many say because they are the biggest church they must be the church closest to the truth and the right church.

In the United States of America you may find lots of Mega Churches and Holland is not doing bas getting also more people in churches where all sorts of happenings attire lots of people with entertaining services. In those mega churches we also often find preachers who seem to be obsessed with religious rules and legalism and who try to make their flock afraid of what they do. Everywhere seems to be the devil looking around the corner. They preach about the Satan going to destroy them if they do not turn away from him and come to Jesus.

Those preachers are more obsessed with the sins and shortcomings of others and make it their obsession to point out their faults.

Preachers like Perry Noble, are known more for what he attacked rather than what he built up! But by Noble some change took place after he had taken a sabbatical year.

Perry Noble

To his mega church where he ministered for 12 years for a congregation which drew around 16,000 people every weekend, in 2012 he made it clear to them that he was committed to NewSpring, which he founded, and that he wasn’t leaving to figure out if he’s supposed to stay. His goal was to lead the church for another 20 years until age 60. That is when he wants to pass the baton to the next generation.

“In order for me to lead this church well for the next 20 years, there’s got to be some changes in me,”

he told his congregation in 2012 when he preached his final message before his break.

Layers to be peeled

“I noticed the closer you get to Jesus, he just peels back another layer on your life of something that you’ve got to work on.”

Noble has not shied away from admitting his weaknesses and how “screwed up” he was to his church. He was open about having battled depression just a few years ago.

“I’m not the perfect person but I am trying my best to pursue Jesus,”

he said.

Men of God and Burn out

That pastor may have been very passionate in what he was doing and had to face a burn out. A few thousand years ago, the prophet Jeremiah also suffered burnout. Decades of pronouncing judgement on an unrepentant Israel wore him down. In the book named after him, he begs for release from this horrible work, but God forbids him to leave it. Jeremiah’s battle against burnout reveals who he really is as a leader – a mixture of character traits and weaknesses we can all appreciate.

The man in the old times we can imagine, got very frustrated, having to speak about the bad things people do and having to pronounces only destruction.  Other prophets get to speak of magnificent future events but Jeremiah is confronted with a stubborn people (the Israelites) who could see what God had done already for them, but where not appreciative for it, and were not interested to change their way of living, so that the prophet also could not change his message.

Losing sight and falling in a pit

"The Prophet Jeremiah" (1968)

“The Prophet Jeremiah” (1968) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The great prophet demands to know why God has allowed him to fall into this pit. Years of throwing himself into his work without any results or reward has left him burned out and resentful. The problem, God tells him, is that he has forgotten his calling. Jeremiah must return to the original vision that launched his ministry.

Today, in the churches all over the world we also can find lots of people who have lost sight of the reason why they were called. Many when they were young were really looking for God, but found a stable home, were they could feel at ease by a certain church denomination. In that church they were comforted they could have a living and do not have to worry about their income, nor have to make steps themselves on their own to build places where they could preach and worship God.

To stay fresh and focused, many like to make sure that they have certain getaway rituals. By many ministers the attraction of a growing church, having lots of people coming to listen to them, brings them to put on shows or to present some sort of entertainment which can attract more people. They start losing track of their real purpose and do think it is best for church to have many people joining in. Most of them do prefer to control everything themselves; They forget that the body of Christ is one of many people doing different jobs in that body, the church. they themselves start thinking they have to do it all. They count on themselves (instead of on God) to do everything what is needed to make a big church, to solve the many problems, build products with too many features, and often they can not say ‘no’ to lots of thing of which they should be able to say “no” or “I can not”.

They forget that if they include every decent idea that comes along, they’ll just wind up with a half-[baked] version of their product.

Outside world

Prophet Jeremiah, Russian icon from first quar...

Prophet Jeremiah and the Scriptures – Russian icon from first quarter of 18th cen. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If we say yes to all outside influences, including everyone else’s expectations, opinions, and criticisms, we shall end up with a half-baked, burned-out version of ourself.

Perry Noble made it his goal to catch people doing something wrong and condemn them and perhaps forgot to see the person he himself really was.  Instead of reaching out to them with compassion and a genuine concern he became judging them.

We also have to be careful not to judge others, and we certainly can damn them or threaten them with places of torture for indefinitely. According to the Scriptures no such place exist. The hell being spoken off is just the grave where we all shall end up. Even Jesus, who never sinned landed up in hell for three days.

Faith, Correctness and discussions

Today we may find many who do not like to associate with anyone or any group that does not acknowledge that he or she is completely correct in his or her view and for religious people this concerns also their interpretation of the Scriptures. On the internet but also in real life we see can  hear heavy discussions going on … and, if the other person does not want to think or see just like him he would attack and malign them as often as possible. (Kind of goes against what Jesus said in John 13:34-35)

Perry Noble admits he fell also in such a trap. He also remembers the very first time he ever had to deal with someone who told him they were struggling with anxiety and depression. He did not understand and could not relate-so, he told them what he thought was the typical “Christian” answer to all problems … they should pray more, read their Bible more and memorize more Scripture.

Instead of lessening the load he was unintentionally adding to it.

The person mentioned, their doctor had told them about going on a certain type of anti-depressant, to help out with their struggle, and so they asked his opinion.

He says now:

In a completely illiterate and uneducated manner I told them that people with “weak faith” are the ones that needed such meds, that godly people did not struggle with feelings of anxiety and depression and that taking such medication would essentially be screaming to God, “I don’t trust you.”

Coming through the storm by learning

He himself also got into a terrible state of not seeing any more where he could go. Through a series of situations in his life that needed to be changed, along with some intense and excellent Biblical counselling he was able to come through the storm that had dominated him for so long. From what he learned at his time of depression, many others can also learn. Today he is willing to share his experiences so that others can learn from it and avoid coming into such a mess he came into. For today’s believers it is not made easy either, because they are tossed about by every wind of “doctrine” because so few preachers seem to be preaching absolute Truth and sound doctrine. They also see what lots of those ministers or priest do in their daily life, not according to what they are preaching or demanding that their churchgoers would have to do.
So many people have become so frightened by other people, instead of knowing that human beings can not totally destroy an other person. He might kill him or her, but that will not solve the problem for the killer. For the one killed he might not have pain any more so the worldly problems would be solved.  A Satisfied Spirit does not have to fear. Most people also want to have the right in their hand and want to believe they are right in everything. In case they would be more humble and come to see that not one person can be right in everything, life would be easier. We should give each other much more “the right to be wrong about everything” and allow ourselves also to have mistakes and getting to learn form our mistakes.

> Please do continue reading about Depression and Anxiety, in:

  1. Searching for fulfillment and meaning through own efforts, facing unsatisfaction and depression
  2. Depression Is and When
  3. Anxiety’s Hold
  4. Believe What You Will
  5. When feeling sad, not sure of there being a Divine Creator
  6. Be an encourager
  7. Duty of encouragement

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Additional reading:

  1. When discouraged facing opposition
  2. Words to push and pull
  3. No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation
  4. Christendom Astray The Devil Not A Personal Super-Natural Being
  5. Satan the evil within
  6. Does God exist?
  7. Our relationship with God, Jesus and each other
  8. Many forgot how Christ should be our anchor and our focus
  9. Jesus Christ being dispatched as the Figurehead of a Religion
  10. Jesus three days in hell
  11. Parts of the body of Christ
  12. The task given to us to love each other
  13. Reasons to come to gether
  14. Testify of the things heard
  15. How should we preach?
  16. Good or bad preacher
  17. Who are you going to reach out to today
  18. Attitude to others important for reaching them
  19. Many churches
  20. Who are the honest ones?
  21. Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church
  22. Greatest single cause of atheism
  23. What’s church for, anyway? (by Marcus Ampe)
  24. Knowing where to go to
  25. Democratic principles for the church of today
  26. Church is a Hospital for sinners
  27. Jehovah’s Witnesses not only group that preach the good news
  28. God is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him
  29. The Spirit of God brings love, hope and freedom
  30. Love for each other attracting others
  31. Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair
  32. Holiness and expression of worship coming from inside
  33. Doctrine and Conduct Cause and Effect
  34. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious
  35. Be humble like Christ
  36. Faith and trial
  37. A Living Faith #4 Effort
  38. Caricaturing and disapproving sceptics, religious critics and figured out ethics
  39. Some one or something to fear #3 Cases, folks and outing
  40. Raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair
  41. If you want to go far in life
  42. Remember that who you’re being is just as important as what you’re doing
  43. We have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace
  44. Abhor evil. Adhere to goodness
  45. Kill the messenger
  46. Work with joy and pray with love
  47. Act as if everything you think, say and do determines your entire life
  48. Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience
  49. You only lose energy when life becomes dull in your mind
  50. No good thing will he withhold
  51. Is the Megachurch the New Liberalism?
  52. Problems attracting and maintaining worshippers

++

  1. Should Christians Take Medication for Mental Illness?
  2. 5 Practical Things to Consider Before Taking an Antidepressant
  3. One of the Most Powerful Leadership Principles I’ve Ever Learned
  4. The One Thing That Holds Most Leaders Back
  5. Why Are So Many Churches Hearing So Little of the Bible from Their Preachers?
  6. Preachers of L.A. Dressed to Impress, But Is Jesus Pleased?
  7. #PreachersofLA: As Real as It Gets
  8. Preachers Of LA’s Bishop McClendon Says He Was Set Up
  9. What if Modern Preachers Preached What Jesus was Preaching?
  10. A Plea for Sharp and Polished Preachers…
  11. In Have You Seen the Viral Videos of the ‘Pint-Sized Preachers’ Yet? (theblaze.com) you can see how children can be exploited and which impression some people have about “teaching” and “preaching” and what certain people do call a “sermon”.
  12. TD Jakes Disses Preachers Of LA
  13. Strange Fire Conference: Preachers or Witch Doctors?
  14. church oh church1
  15. Debating with theologians and preachers and their somewhat constricted views….
  16. Can Faith Ever Be Rational?
  17. Political Correctness and “Bashing”
  18. The one religion that’s not part of my spiritual quest
  19. Word Power
  20. The Right To Be Wrong About Everything
  21. A Satisfied Spirit Fears Not

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  • Is the Megachurch the New Liberalism? (blackchristiannews.com)
    The emergence of the megachurch as a model of metropolitan ministry is one of the defining marks of evangelical Christianity in the United States. Megachurches — huge congregations that attract thousands of worshipers — arrived on the scene in the 1970s and quickly became engines of ministry development and energy.
    Over the last 40 years, the megachurch has made its presence known, often dominating the Christian landscape within the nation’s metropolitan regions. The megachurch came into dominance at the same time that massive shopping malls became the landmarks of suburban consumer life. Sociologists can easily trace the rise of megachurches within the context of America’s suburban explosion and the development of the technologies and transportation systems that made both the mall and the megachurch possible.
  • Joel Osteen’s message of hope connects faithful, churches (ocregister.com)
    Osteen, senior pastor of the 50,000-strong Lakewood Church in Houston and nicknamed “the Smiling Preacher” for his toothy grin, travels with a crew of 30. Many in the audience Friday seemed to connect with the preacher’s observations, delivered in a lyrical Texan drawl, his interpretation of Scriptures and most of all, his positive energy.During his sermon, Osteen drew quite a bit from personal experience in his message about “redeeming time,” or making the most of our time in this world. He broke down as he talked about his mother’s valiant and victorious fight against liver cancer. He reminisced about the first time he met Victoria, his wife of 27 years, at a jewelry store while shopping for a watch battery.He told how the tragic death of his father, John Osteen, who founded the church at the back of an old feed store with 90 members, pushed a behind-the scenes guy into the limelight – as a preacher. In the last 15 years, Osteen has grown a congregation of 6,000 to the nation’s largest megachurch.
  • Has the Megachurch Lost Its Luster? (juicyecumenism.com)
    In the future, the 1990s and early 2000s may well be called the “Megachurch Era” by ecclesiastical historians. Suburban commuter culture, television broadcasting, the Internet, the book publishing industry, the rise of self-help gurus, digital media technology, and the contemporary sounds of Jesus People music all provided essential ingredients for enormous churches with a plethora of programs. All that the ingredients needed were men with the vision, initiative, and charisma to muster together like-minded individuals for a common purpose: planting, building, and increasing a congregation (well beyond the previous conceptions of a “large congregation”).
  • Huge Money Stolen From MegaChurch, But That’s Not The OMG Moment (crooksandliars.com)
    The Young Turk’s Cenk Uygur discusses the recent robbery at Joel Osteen’s megachurch, and the incredible amount of money they’re raking in there every single week.
  • How to Run a Megachurch: T.D. Jakes, Marvin Winans, and Others Provide an Inside Look (blackchristiannews.com)
    On just about any Sunday, as many as 10,000 people may fill the pews of Bishop T.D. Jakes’ Dallas-area megachurch. Some believers say he has an uncanny way of connecting with his audience anyway.

    “It doesn’t matter about the size,” says Faith Johnson, a 13-year member. “It’s almost like nobody else is in that church, but me.”
    It takes some help for leaders of the largest megachurches and national ministries to make believers reject the idea that a smaller church is more intimate and personable. A big staff of associate pastors and elders is indispensable.
    +

    Pastor Matthew Cork knew he’d have to rely more on his leadership when his nearly 6,000-member Friends Church in Yorba Linda, Calif., committed to building 200 schools in India over the next 10 years for dalit children, who are part of the country’s lowest caste. He’s also promoting a book and movie about the number of dalits who end up being trafficked as sex slaves.
    “We have a teaching team, so I’m not teaching every week, which gives me freedom to do some of the other things that I do,” said Cork, who speaks about twice a month at his church. “It’s worked great for me and my schedule.”
  • Fort Lauderdale Megachurch Pastor Resigns Over ‘Moral Failing’ (miami.cbslocal.com)
    “Bob Coy resigned as Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, effective immediately, after confessing to a moral failing in his life…Pastor Bob will be focusing his full attention on his personal relationship with God and his family. The governing board of the church is providing counselors and ministers who will help guide him through the process of full repentance, cleansing and restoration.”+
    “There should have been more accountability at Calvary Chapel,” he says.  “Pastor Bob shouldn’t have been put on such a high pedestal and he should have never had so much power. Whenever there is that, it’s a formula for disaster.”The popular church boasts over 20,000 members, has 10 campuses, and 1,000 employees.“You know he did a lot of good,” said Mitch Guertler a church member. “He helped out a lot of people and I’m just really sad but like he always said up on stage—don’t follow him, follow Christ. So, you know, he’s a sinner like the rest of us and it’s just too bad.”
  • Arguing over trifles while the world burns: Megachurch pays millions to leave nation’s biggest Presbyterian denomination – major rift over ‘Who Jesus is’ (sott.net)
    A California megachurch has voted to officially leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a Christian denomination that is the largest in the nation.Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, Calif., one of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s largest congregations, made the choice despite facing a $8.89 million cost for the church’s property and membership fees, Religion News Service reported.With 4,000 members, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Menlo Park’s decision is a major development in the lifecycle of a denomination that continues to experience ideological infighting over its more liberal stances on controversial issues.
    +
    In a document published by Menlo Park last year, leaders described their reasons for seeking a split with Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), noting that the church’s “evangelical identity around who Jesus is and our understanding of the authority of scripture are increasingly out of alignment” with the denomination as a whole.

    Specifically, the church expressed concern that many Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders do not believe in the deity of Jesus, nor do they embrace salvation through Christ. These are central tenets of most mainstream Christian churches, leading to a difficult ideological splintering.

  • Amazingly Elaborate Hoax Targets Megachurch Pastor (newser.com)
    Somebody has put a massive amount of work into a hoax claiming that pastor Joel Osteen has renounced his faith and is resigning from the Texas megachurch his father founded, the Houston Chronicle reports. The hoax includes a fake Twitter feed, a YouTube video from “ChristianityNews” containing mockups of news websites trumpeting Osteen’s loss of faith, and a fake website that looks similar to the pastor’s own site.
  • Dallas Megachurch To Encourage ‘Tweeting’ For Jesus During Sermons (dfw.cbslocal.com)
    You could call it “facebooking” for Jesus. One North Texas mega-church could soon be encouraging its congregants to keep their cell-phones on instead of turning them off during Sunday service.
    +
    “We have a pretty young congregation — the median age is 33 — and so many of them I deal with them on social media as much as I do in presence of them,” says Liberatore. “I just think this is a different way for people to connect with each other, to share their faith — and I think Jesus would make use of it.”
  • Study: Megachurches can trigger false spiritual highs (alanrudnick.org)
    worshipers at megachurches experience a greater release of oxytocin, thought to add to a sense of euphoria. That would lead us to believe that these types of megachurch worship experiences can trigger a false sense of a spiritual high.
    +
    like a rock concert, there is a degree of psychological multiplication that can be added with a shared emotional experience with light shows, loud music, and a celebrity presence. Perhaps megachurches can add this additional element to worship that causes this “spiritual high”.
    +
    So, is the spiritual high that Christians experience in worship just a chemical response or is it a part of the worship of God? Does worship in a megachurch lend more to a shared emotional or perceived than other types of Christian styled worship?
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4 thoughts on “Depression, Anxiety, Pressure and megachurches

  1. Pingback: MegaChurch | Stepping Toes

  2. Pingback: God’s wisdom for the believer brings peace | From guestwriters

  3. Pingback: What IF you’re only driven by stress? | From guestwriters

  4. Pingback: A little ray of sunshine. | From guestwriters

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