This is the church I was talking about in my post about New Life Church in Colorado, when I said it was very similar to one back home, a mega-church. For those outside of Minnesota, this is another prosperity church, one that a local paper did a front page article on called The Kingdom and Power of Mac Hammond.
The Name of the church is Living Word Christian Center, and the pastor is Mac Hammond. I know this paper is liberal and secular, but that doesn't make their observations incorrect. In my opinion, the pastor of whom they speak has damaged his Christian testimony. I just can't believe it's possible to collect money from people given for ministry, and spend it on planes, condos, pools, expensive clothes, etc. etc. and be focused on spiritual things, on the needs of people. It is also wrong to have spent money given for ministry on such things.
Having been in the church for a while, I felt my own needs were squelched by the constant pleas for money. I felt the Holy Spirit was insulted by this. You can't "serve God and mammon". You can't mix the two. Sure, good things are being done. But how much more good could be done with all the money spent on all the lavish things and all the energy spent as well on all the vain concerns.
Jim Bakker has written about this and tried to warn us in his books since he was imprisoned, even though he has been a little loopy himself (Prosperity and the Coming Apocalypse). Oh that such ministries would listen.
But here is a sound teacher I've found on the web - Andy in California, just a humble blogger, a godly man who writes about this on his blog A Mile From the Beach: on this post on riches.
The ministry the rich need is what Jesus gave to the rich man: he told him one thing he lacks is to sell what he has and to give it to the poor. The rich don't need to have a rich preacher get chummy with them and tell them how great it is to be rich - "get richer!"
And if you get rich by asking large crowds for money all the time, or by asking for money on TV, that's no miracle. The pastor isn't helping the average person.
I will say that I did hear good teaching while at the church about faith and healing, and there were people who talked about amazing miracles of healing there. But there was an attitude that if you didn't get healed that you didn't have enough faith, just like if you didn't have enough money you were failing in the prosperity area as well.
In general, the church was too big, and it was hard to find a niche within it, so I went seeking a smaller church and did.
October 30, 2009: For some time now I've been wanting to go to Living Word, especially to the young adult service on some Sunday night that they started a while ago. I want to go because I know that there is a strong emphasis on healing and a positive, faith-filled atmosphere.
I am changing my attitude and position towards this church. I want to express how I appreciate so many things about it. Despite the concerns expressed above, Mac Hammond is a brother in Christ, subject to the same scrutiny and persecution as the rest of the body of Christ and I know I must not make division. I know I must support him and stand with him.
His church does many good things in service to Christ and for the welfare of people, and I want to acknowledge that.