The sad story of Carrie Underwood’s megachurch

By Larry Tomczak

Living in the Nashville area, I’ve had occasion to have some divine appointments with some celebrities. I interacted with Nicole Kidman and gave her my personal testimony tract, then later gave Keith Urban and her a book I wrote on Christian parenting. Ricky Skaggs, a committed Christian, regularly engages with us in leadership gatherings.

“American Idol” winner and country superstar, Carrie Underwood is someone I’ve not yet met, but I’d relish the opportunity to talk with her about the subject of this commentary.

Not long ago, Underwood shared in an interview with The Independent the following: “Our church is gay friendly. Above all, God wanted us to love others. It’s not about setting rules or everyone has to be like me. No. We’re all different. That is what makes us special. We have to love each other and get along with each other. It’s not up to me to judge anybody.”

At the time of the interview, Carrie and her husband were attending a nondenominational Christian church in our area that changed to welcome and openly support LGBTQ adherents. Even though she was raised Baptist, she credits the church with influencing her to now publicly support gay marriage.

This prominent megachurch decided a few years ago to jettison historic biblical positions on marriage, homosexuality and lesbianism. It fully supports the LGBTQ lifestyle and welcomes their full participation in every aspect of the church, including leadership.

As Christians it is our privilege to love all people no matter who they are or what lifestyle they espouse. But remaining faithful to the unambiguous teaching of Scripture means marriage is only between a man and woman, and our call is to holy living, steering clear of practicing all immorality, including homosexuality. There can be no compromise in this area.

The Bible clearly teaches that homosexuality is not God’s way or design for His creation. The New Testament uses five terms to describe both male and female homosexual conduct: “unnatural,” “perverted,” “degrading,” “shameful” and “indecent” (Romans 1:18-26).

Recently, the church Carrie referred to has undergone tumultuous change, resulting in its attendance dropping from 2,200 members to currently around 240 attending their Saturday evening service in its new location. I do not know if Carrie and her husband still attend.

Before the church’s relocation, I attended one of their Sunday morning services, and more recently I’ve visited again. They are now meeting directly across the street from Celebration Church, the local church where we are based!

A few days ago I hung around after service to engage with the senior pastor, Stan Mitchell. At the end of our conversation, I gave him a copy of my latest book, “Bullseye,” which addresses the 30 hot-button issues of today, including homosexuality and gay marriage. Each chapter is accompanied by brief, immediately accessible videos presenting the biblical worldview on the topic.

Our interaction was friendly. I extended an invitation to get together and, in spite of differences, take advantage of an opportunity to learn from each other. I prayed quietly as I exited. Your guess is as good as mine regarding his response. Pray.

The dwindling megachurch, which the pastor calls “radically inclusive,” has been forced to list its facility for sale. It includes 22 acres, a 12,000 square-foot church building and a more than 2,200-square-foot office building, according to the listing. The property in Franklin, Tennessee, is listed for more than $5.7 million.

A lady once designated the “pastor of worship and arts,” who sang with the award-winning Christian group Avalon, has also left. She cofounded Imaginarium, a “spiritual community focused on creating a space to imagine a better world and together make it so,” according to its Facebook page. She presents herself now as a “leader and visionary who pushes the thought envelope on issues of injustice and inequality.”

Mitchell is involved in a group called “Faith in America,” which believes that “LGBT people should be removed from the sin list.” At the June Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix, Stan and his colleagues mingled with people outside of the convention, trying to persuade attendees to be more LGBTQ affirming.

Pastor Stan in his July 30 sermon, prior to the relocation, shared how the church has now found a “clearer vision” and a “new and refined construction of our faith.” He said they were a “progressive Christian church.”

Link with Unity Church

Stan Mitchell has taken his hemorrhaging congregation to a building presently occupied by Unity Church of Nashville. “Unity honors the universal truths in all religions and respects each individual’s right to choose a spiritual path.”

From its home page we learn the following:

  • “God is divine energy, continually creating, expressing and sustaining all creation.”
  • “Jesus is a master teacher of universal truths as our Way-Shower.”
  • “Humankind’s essential nature is divine and therefore inherently good.”
  • “The Bible (revealed to the Unity cofounders) is history and allegory, interpreted as a metaphysical representation of humankind’s evolutionary journey toward spiritual awakening.”

Oprah Winfrey featured one of Unity’s followers, poet Maya Angelou, on one of her Super Soul Sunday shows. And, if you haven’t guessed by now, this religious approach stresses diversity, tolerance and wholesale acceptance of those involved in homosexuality, lesbianism, transgenderism and the like.

Again drawing from his July 30 sermon, Stan said, “We have achieved a degree, a measure of new construction, ongoing for sure, but more solid and stable in terms of theological identity then ever before!”

Rev. John McLean, senior minister of Unity Church of Nashville, declared, “Unity has always been radically inclusive, and I respect the work that Mitchell has been doing in that area a great deal. It looks like it’s a perfect fit.”

Bottom line

In his insightful blog, “5 Trends Christian Millennials MUST STOP Doing,” John Wesley Reid said, “The problem with tolerance is that when we accept people for who they WANT to be, we neglect the people that Jesus MADE them to be.”

As Stan Mitchell has led his flock, including the extremely gifted Carrie Underwood, into the pasture of tolerance and diversity, tragically his unfaithfulness to Scripture unmasks him as one whom Jesus called “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” If we don’t know and love the truth, we’ll be subject to a strong delusion, as 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 warns.

The good news is that it’s not too late! We serve a redemptive God who is merciful and loves to turn things around for the good, if we repent and align with His will.

Stan and Carrie, if perchance this commentary comes to you, I encourage you to recognize it as providential not coincidental. May I extend an invitation to go to and engage with the videos and chapters on gay marriage and gay Christians to learn God’s unchanging truth?

Carrie, “Jesus, Take the Wheel” was the name of your first blockbuster hit that launched your career. Millions of dedicated Christian fans appeal to you to ask Him to do just that regarding God’s beautiful plan for men and women in holy, not homosexual, marriage.

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