“Confessions of a Mega Church Pastor” by Allen Hunt
I was visiting my local Catholic bookstore in Omaha, Nebraska to look for some reading on a subject for one of my papers for school. As I was checking out I found “Confessions of a Mega Church Pastor” by Allen Hunt and immediately recognized the Dynamic Catholic logo. It was reasonably priced so I added it to my purchase and went home.
I am a convert from the mega church scene as well, so this book immediately caught my eye. In my conversion the problems in the mega church scene permeated my convictions and added to the need to find something different. I might have discovered reasons against baseline Protestantism, but the rising mega church scene added to my level of discomfort and disconnect in my faith at the time. I even swore to the idea of finding a small church, going so far as to provoke the thought of starting my own house-church. Well, it’s funny how things happen when you say “I will never” to God; I ended up joining the biggest Church there is – the Catholic Church.
That’s a story for another day but it fits well with this review. Adam Hunt is the former pastor of one of the largest Methodist congregations in the U.S. His story is inviting and personal, but also one of teaching and examination of the real treasures and genius found in the Catholic Church. Allen opens the book by building a picture, chapter by chapter, of a house. Each with different rooms and scenes, from the kitchen to the front porch, Allen takes the reader on a narrative journey through his conversion process. Throughout this house the narrative, like a pastor, he browses the challenges he faced personally and in doctrine while providing lively ways he was convinced of the Catholic faith. He tells of personal trial in details that only friends give to each other. In detail, he tells of his struggle with colitis while at the same time takes on a study for his PhD. with Yale University. Incidentally to that, Allen befriends a Catholic priest who aids him in prayer and the friendship blossoms.
He confesses his main fears and ignorance about the Catholic Church as well. Meeting a group of nuns for the first time, he was assigned to teach them but ended up learning about the tougher teachings of the Real Presence in the Holy Communion and how our devotion to Mary or other Saints is not cultic and idolatrous. Of seemingly most important to his conversion story was the moral ground the Catholic Church stands on. In his “Family Cemetery” chapter he drives by an abortion cemetery and begins to question the moral relativity that his Methodist faith stands in. He might personally stand against abortion but his denomination could say otherwise. He discusses the inner workings of the democratic system his church uses to determine its position, relative to the stalwart and steadfast moral philosophy of the Catholic Church, whose position on life and social issues is immutable and unchanged.
The read is easy and can be finished quite quickly for the avid reader. At about 150 pages, the chapters are a breeze and I finished it going one chapter a day for a week. At the end he provides an appendix with challenges and choices for the lay Catholic and the non-Catholic as well. Overall, I suggest this book to all. I do not easily give that sort of recommendation for a book, but this one makes the cut. It is thoughtful and engaging with an added dose of apologetics. I would compare it with Hahn’s Rome Sweet Home but slightly less rigorous apologetic explanations. It truly captures the pastoral love of Allen’s previous experience, and his thoughtful conversion to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.