A church congregation reaching their hands up
Unsplash | John Price

Former Megachurch Worker Shares Behind-The-Scenes 'Horror Stories'

Churches can be a divisive topic. When a church is in the headlines, it always seems to be because it's either doing something really good or really bad.

But what's it like to be a part of a megachurch? These massive churches are growing in popularity, with more than 1,500 of them in the U.S. alone, each with an average of 2,000 attendees every weekend.

These big churches are big targets for criticism, and a woman who used to work at one is sharing a few secrets.

TikToker Lexi used to work at a megachurch.

You can find Lexi's account under @mychurchtruth, where she's amassed close to 40,000 followers so far. These are impressive numbers considering the fact that she posted her first video just one week ago.

How do megachurches present themselves?

The Crystal Cathedral megachurch
Wikimedia Commons | Wattewyl

It's important for the image of a megachurch to boast a big congregation, so the first big megachurch secret that Lexi tells us is the fact that the front row needs to be full of people so it'll look good on TV. One of Lexi's roles was ensuring that the front row was always full.

Image is everything.

Pews in a church
Unsplash | Andrew Seaman

Lexi told a story of putting some people in the front row who didn't fit the church's image.

"Their clothes were kind of dirty and messy, but everyone loved them," she said. "So I would put them on the front row, and I got reprimanded for doing that ... because of the way they looked, and because they didn't fit the vibe."

Isn't that kind of un-Christian?

Comments on TikTok video about megachurches
TikTok | @mychurchtruth

One can easily make the argument that judging people based on their appearance is a lousy thing to do by any standards. But there's also the fact that doing stuff like this is explicitly cautioned against in the very book the church is based on.

What's the church?

Former megachurch worker discussing megachurches
TikTok | @mychurchtruth

Viewers are no doubt dying to know which of the 1,500+ megachurches Lexi is talking about. Unfortunately, while she's willing to give us all of the behind the scenes gossip, she isn't willing to publicly name the specific church.

It sounds like a carnival or something.

Because megachurches need to draw in a big audience, big-ticket giveaways are common. In a follow-up video, Lexi talked about how the church would sometimes give a car or furniture to volunteers who worked very hard. This was all played up on stage for the whole congregation to see, of course.

Lexi's been disillusioned by the church.

Comments on TikTok video about megachurches
TikTok | @mychurchtruth

While plenty of comments (and Lexi's original videos, of course) are critical of the way that megachurches do business, Lexi is careful to explain that while she's venting about her experiences, she doesn't think churches are inherently bad.

It's tough to be heard at a megachurch.

Former megachurch worker discussing megachurches
TikTok | @mychurchtruth

When you're one of thousands of congregants, it's tough to get an audience with the lead pastor. Even when you're a dedicated volunteer, it's tough to be heard by the pastor. Lexi explains that the pastor basically doesn't feel compelled to listen to differing views.

It's a fascinating glimpse inside these institutions.

Churches of all kinds have been around since ancient times, but megachurches are a new phenomenon. For those who aren't actively attending a megachurch, these institutions may seem big and mysterious. Lexi's videos certainly help de-mystify them.

What's your church experience been like?

Roof of a church with a cross
Unsplash | Akira Hojo

Even if you're not a regular attendee, most of us have at least been inside a church once or twice. Let us know what you think of this story in the comments, and be sure to share your church experiences!