There are certain things that people expect to see in Las Vegas– giant casinos,  people dressed up as Elvis and Darth Vader, strip clubs, etc.  One thing they might be surprised to see is a church.

One of the lesser-known phenomenon in Las Vegas is the prevalent church culture that resides there.  Many people (especially tourists) would be surprised to hear about the hundreds of churches and dozens of faiths that come together to represent the worship community in the town referred to as “Sin City.”

In an article written last year for MSNBC, Chris Rodell quotes an interview with pastor Mark Wickstrom of the Community Lutheran Church of Las Veags, who said,

“A Baptist church in Henderson (just outside of Las Vegas) recently surveyed how many churches of all denominations were within a 2-mile radius of its location. In that 2-mile circle, it found 102 churches.”

Now, if that’s not surprising, I don’t know what is.

So it turns out there is a phenomenon of churches amongst the casinos and clubs.  Something that does make sense is the diversity amidst these churches.  Considering the melting-pot of people who reside in Las Vegas, it’s no shock to see a wide range of prevalent faiths there, such as Judaism, Mormonism, and Christianity.  Some churches meet in traditional buildings with steeples, but many have become more modern, meeting in huge auditoriums that seem more equivalent to a small sports arena than a sanctuary.

Central Christian Church, which is less than 15 minutes from the Vegas strip, is one of these churches.  With more than five campuses, seating for over 3,000 people, five services per weekend (per campus), and a heart for serving the people of the city, it leaves a big footprint.

This “mega-church” puts on what seems more like a well-produced show than a church service.  Yes, there is a pastor, prayer, and communion, but a backstage tour (with a chance to record some video footage) revealed that there is also a 50-foot stage, dozens of flashing lights, a professional band, and millions of dollars’ worth of tech equipment to put on the services.

Most people come to Vegas to gamble and see the sights.  Next time, look a little bit closer and see if you can’t pick out a few churches in the midst of the shopping sprees, gambling sessions, and Cirque shows.

Posted in Uncategorized