People in front of lights with their hands up worshipping and praising

Are “HYPE” Churches Bad?

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They seem harmless, but is there more going on than what is there to see?
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Hype churches are known for focusing more on the experience than experiencing Jesus. That’s a red flag as we should really only trust in the Holy Spirit to work in the room, not depend on the lights, music, and message. They also tend to avoid hard topics that are crucial to our faith and our posture towards Jesus as well as push for big numbers rather than disciple those already there. Jesus isn’t about numbers, and He for sure isn’t about shortcutting the Gospel and softening messages. He brings Grace AND Truth hard, and that’s what we sinful humans need. Overall: be careful what churches you follow closely and make sure you aren’t missing out on everything God wants you to know and be.

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You walk into church service and notice right away that the worship music is insane. Lights everywhere, smoke from the stage, big screens, it feels like you are at a concert. It immediately turns into a fun experience. Then the pastor gets on stage and he brings the house down. By the end of the message, you are hyped on life, motivated to get out there and make the most of it. You’re inspired, but something doesn’t sit right. Did you just really go to church? Or was that something else?

Over the last two decades there have been a rising number of churches across the US that seem to follow what we would consider, the “HYPE” movement. It’s a newer method of church that reels people in and communicates their messages differently than what you would normally expect from a church pastor. They really push for a great experience and usually come off as motivational a lot of the time. It seems awesome, you get excited and pushed by the end of the message, you feel good, and it makes for a great day and experience, but deep down, there are some real dangers to this. Let’s explore them.

What Are The Harms of a “Hype” Church?

  1. They become the experience rather than Jesus
  2. Too Much Grace, Not Enough Truth
  3. Pastors avoid controversial topics that are on the hot seat right now.
  4. They become what we worship

5. They Care More For Building The Crowd Than Building The Body

I will break down what each of these mean below

1. They Become The Experience Rather Than Jesus

It seems as if they mean no harm in what they do, they just want to make sure people have a great experience at church. After all, many have had bad experiences or harmful ones at other churches in the past, so they try to avoid that. Except, a key matter in this is that it shows a lack of trust in God being able to work through the Holy Spirit. If worship isn’t up to their standard of epicness and hype, then they feel like they might have failed the congregation. If the pastor doesn’t bring a booming message, then people must not have been moved. Basically, these churches seem to care more about the experience each person has over trusting that the Holy Spirit will do its part. Even if the church doesn’t think that way, the body believes it that way and when they go to experience church and messages elsewhere, they compare and come to disappointment. Why? Because they focus too much on the experience and not enough of experiencing Jesus. We should be going in with a mindset to church each time that we are there to experience God and hear from His word through the pastor as a vessel. If we aren’t focused on that, then we have sold Jesus for the church and the experience instead.

2. Too Much Grace, Not Enough Truth

Without grace, we would have no hope in this world. We need grace more than anything in the world. Yet, we don’t combine grace with truth, we forget the weight of that Grace and what it means to us. Remember, the definition of “Grace” is the “unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification.” Unmerited means undeserving. We do not deserve God’s grace… why? Because we are sinners. Unfortunately, that truth doesn’t get shared often at these types of churches. They avoid the messages that tell us we are messing up, we are sinners and that we need to repent. They try to keep messages uplifting and feel good. Why? Because they don’t want to hurt people’s feelings or have to deal with people leaving their church. Happy peeps = more seats. The problem with this is it doesn’t bring glory to God when we think we are good people and don’t need to recognize Jesus for His sacrifice. The Truth is what we must know first in order for grace to have it’s full effect. Pastors should be leading their flock to know the full truth and grace of God and giving messages that tugs us to draw near to the feet of Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to fill us and change us. Nowadays, pastors just preach to make us feel good and it feels more like a motivational message than a spirit filled one. This should not be.

3. Pastors Avoid Controversial Topics

Again, they don’t want to upset people and their “personal” beliefs so they won’t talk about things like “Abortion” or “Homosexuality” and “Transgenderism.” They simply talk about messages that they are comfortable with and know won’t cause people to be upset. To sum this up real quick, they care more about the opinion of man than they do the opinion of God. Pastors need to be bold and step up and stand for what the Bible says… and ALL of it. Not cherry pick and go with what the crowd thinks. 

4. They Become What We Worship

Instead of turning to God when you seem to lack joy or don’t feel close to Him, you go to YouTube to watch sermons by them. I found myself at times just turning to pastors to receive what I needed instead of turning to God. It then became a habit and God was no longer the hirst thing I sought. I was more excited to hear sermons by them or go to church than I was to simply experience God in it. When the church becomes the idol and we worship it instead of God, we can be assured it’s sinful and wrong.

5. They Care More For Building The Crowd Than Building The Body

These churches tend to really care about numbers. Don’t get us wrong, the more people we can bring to Christ, the better. But what we don’t like is when the church neglects to build up the body of believers through their messages and only gives the lighthearted ones that even first timers can enjoy. When we neglect to build the body and teach what it means to be a disciple and how to disciple, we really are wasting our time. Jesus wasn’t one for numbers. He said it himself. He said narrow is the gate that leads to life and few will find it. When he told the 5000 men plus women and children in Luke 14 the cost of following him, all but 12 remained. Did he get upset? Think that He said something the wrong way? Instantly regretted it? No, he was content. Because God cares more about those who are serious warriors in the faith than the lukewarm who use Him like a trophy. It’s not about numbers, it’s about building up the body, and naturally, that should build the body (save that for another article).

Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t saying to hate these churches, you should cancel them, boycott, or look down on people who attend these people. Do NOT do those things. We are full aware they have done a lot for the kingdom and continue to, and for that, we give praise to God. We also know they have brought a lot of people to Christ which is amazing to witness as well. We just simply need to be cautious about what these churches do and make sure it doesn’t negatively impact our faith and/or God’s will.

(Sidebar, these churches don’t have to be megachurches, they can be small too.)

A further Lesson to Learn

You need to always be aware of what you allow into your lives. If you don’t have a filter, there is nothing that can stop the enemy from feeding you everything counter to God’s Truth and Will. This includes things outside AND inside the church. The enemy feeds us in mouthfuls either, it’s always bite size, just enough to sneak by. If the church fails to bring the full gospel and share with us the full truth of God and His word, then we allow the enemy to step in and slowly push us away from what God’s will and desire is for us in our lives. We eventually form a new version of Jesus that we like. Don’t let this happen. Jesus is the same today, yesterday, and tomorrow and forever more. Amen.