I live in Brooklyn Park so I spend a lot of time driving east and west on 85th Avenue North. When I do this, I pass by a large abandoned church building. Apparently, it was one of those mega-churches which become not-mega.
A couple of weeks ago, I nearly slammed on the brakes when I drove by the building, because it had a brand new sign on the front saying “Winner’s Chapel.” Starting a chapel only for winners did not seem very Jesus-like to me.
I thought it must be a new building for the Mac Hammond Ministries which produces a commercial called the “Winner’s Minute.” It runs on WCCO TV at 6:50am every weekday morning. Mac Hammond Ministries is located in Brooklyn Park on Hwy 169. Nothing says Jesus like a commercial that is designed to “help you win in every area of your life.”
I went home and googled “Winner’s Chapel” and found that it is not part of Mac Hammond. It is the newest location for the Living Faith Church Worldwide International. Their headquarters is in Nigeria and it has locations in 65 countries. It’s one of the largest churches in the world. Wikipedia reports that “critics have accused [the church] of adopting a health, wealth, prosperity gospel that is contrary to biblical teaching.” It also reports that the person who leads the church is worth at least $150 million and purchased a Gulfstream jet in 2011. I’m not surprised. Mac Hammond is going to have to step up his game, or he’ll be losing his devout Christian winners to the Winner’s Chapel.
As you can tell, I have serious problems with prosperity gospel theology. Jesus ate with the sinners, fishermen, prostitutes, and tax collectors (people at the bottom of society), and argued with the Scribes and Pharisees (people at the top). Go read Matthew 25:13-46 to understand my view of Christianity. (I’ll even provide you a link.) https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25:31-46)
What really motivated me to write this post is that I took time on Wednesday to visit the Dignity Center at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church. Hennepin Church started the Dignity Center about 12 years ago to provide services to homeless people in Minneapolis. In January 2015, the Dignity Center moved into the former parsonage building when the senior minister decided to live in her own home. The Dignity Center is open from 9:00-12:00 on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. They provide services and food to 25-75 people each day it is open.
As a member of HAUMC, I support the Dignity Center, but have never taken the time to visit it during operating hours. I was amazed by the friendly and compassionate volunteers, the efficient operation, and the number of people receiving help. These volunteers are Christians who are living the message that Jesus provided to us in Matthew 25.
I’m proud to be part of a church that ministers to the homeless and the needy, not to a church that wants winners walking into their chapel.
To learn more about the Dignity Center, please visit http://haumc.org/dignitycenter/, and also read a wonderful article about the Dignity Center at http://millcitytimes.com/news/the-dignity-center-working-with-people-to-achieve-and-mainta.html
If you want to learn more about the Winner’s Chapel, you’ll have to find it yourself.
A Church for Winners
The Dignity Center – A Church For Those Seeking Help
A Busy Wednesday Morning at the Dignity Center