My family has had the pleasure of attending North Point Community Churches for several years now. Chris and I, along with friends first started attending the Buckhead Church campus and now we are happy to call Watermark Church (soon to be Woodstock City Church when we move next year) our home. If you are kind of familar with North Point Community or the lead Pastor you might know that it is a mega church in which most members go to church on Sundays to see Andy Stanley preach in a huge screen.
I still remember my first time at Buckhead Church…. we got in a few minutes late and the service had already begun. As I got settled and started watching Andy I soon realized that he was not really there. A huge screen had been lowered on the stage as if he was standing there. I know if you are unfamilar with a church like this it is kind of weird, but it didn’t take long for me to fall in love with North Point Community Churches.
Here are some truths about our experience with a Mega-Church.
- Parking is no Joke- Yes at many of the North Point Campuses you need to arrive early to be able to find a spot and make it in on time. There are AWESOME volunteers who are directing traffic. In all this organized chaos though, before the first word is sung that morning church as already began just in the parking lot. Each Sunday we smile and laugh at the man who acts like a robot as he waves cars by, motions for you to inch up as he bites he nails in pretend worry. He is also making note if you have kids in your car or a baby who you are going to unstrap from the carseat and walkies up ahead to open a reserved spot in the paved lot closer to the doors. While that might not happen for us every Sunday it happens for as many of us as they can manage.
- Yes I watch a man preach on a gigantic screen. On most Sunday’s we watch Andy Stanley preach on a screen because we love how he delivers messages, we love what he has to say and so do many many people in the Metro Atlanta area (and world wide via the internet). To spread his message more communities have come together to build many North Point campuses around Atlanta. When we moved last year we were so excited to find one near us. One of the reasons why I love to hear Andy so much is because he not only makes his messages so relatable you can truly see his depth knowledge of the Bible shine trough.
- It is Overwhelmingly big. Yeah the campuses I have attended are huge with tons of people. Our campus that is being built in Woodstock gets confused for a huge new high school. As a new person it can be easy to feel overwhelmed but there are volunteers to help you figure out where to take your kids, there are programs to guide you into how to become involved and a program if you are new to God and church in general. Everyone really strives to make you feel welcome without being overbearing. You won’t get random house calls from anyone but you might get a piece of mail welcoming your child to class.
- There are Rows and Rows of People. First of all, it is wonderful to see so many people celebrating or learning about God. While the churches are crowded, North Point promotes “Circles are Better than Rows” and encourages everyone to get in a small group that meets weekly. They have events in place to get people connected into these awesome groups. Andy will tell us “Church happens in Circles” so we don’t have a mid-week service instead small groups meet all during the week. You can get in a group for which ever day works best with you and for whatever stage of life you are in. Chris and I joined a group for the first time last year and it is wonderful.
- My kid gets a number. So yes when we drop Ali off to her class she gets a number this is to keep her safe so that we are the only ones who can pick her up and it is an easy way to alert us if on the screens if we are needed. The classes are kept small and the first time we left her the teachers offered to text us updates during the service because they know how hard it is to leave your baby in someone else hands. Ali is always in the best mood after her class, she usually sings to us in her 17 month old babble the entire way home. I am so excited for her to grow up in Woodstock City Church. There are so many wonderful youth environments for all ages.
- Worship is like a concert… isn’t that expensive. I can see this point being one of the things our church is judged the most on. I get that the music is not for everyone and that the stage set up with all the lights and flare may seem like too much and too expensive. However, if we should strive to do things to the best of ability worship should be the same. I’m not saying every church should worship the way we do because the money may not be there for such and it may not fit that churches mission, but for us a “concert” is worshiping and celebrating God to the best of our ability while fitting in with North Point’s mission, to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, and main goal.
“Atlanta does not need another church. What Atlanta does need is a safe environment where the unchurched can come and hear the life-changing truth that Jesus Christ cares for them and died for their sin.”
- Ugh the Parking Lot AGAIN. Go to the bathroom before you get in your car because getting out of the lot may take some time. This is a wonderful time to reflect on the service and talk about how you can apply it to your week or life. It reminds us of how good people are as the volunteers stand in the rain directing traffic with huge smiles (A big thank you to the Watermark crew who had to do this a few weeks ago) or as someone lets you in front of them.
Do you attend a Mega-Church? Share your thoughts on Mega-Churches?