Iglesia Cristiana El Lugar de Su Presencia
Calle 95 Bis 50-36
The experience at Su Presencia is similar to what I’ve heard American megachurches are like – intense. People hold their arms in the air and close their eyes. The music is modern and poppy. Excellent audio-visual. It’s a professional performance. Dozens of staff are needed for crowd control inside and in the neighborhood streets. Before each service, crowds line up as far as three blocks down to get a good seat in the main auditorium.
The Su Presencia Facebook page claims 14,000 weekly attendants through all the services. Once capacity is reached they put more people in the building across the street. The first time I went I was in the main auditorium from where the band and pastor broadcast. When I took these pics and video I was in the second building, watching on the big screen.
If local trends follow those in the States, which most do, Su Presencia may someday hold a service in El Campín just like Second Baptist in Houston holds Easter services at Minute Maid park (where the Astros play). The Second Baptist annual budget is in the neighborhood of $50 million. If trends follow those in the States, a Colombian or South American Rick Warren may emerge. Senior pastor of Saddleback, Warren authored The Purpose-Driven Life (30 million copies sold) and gave Barack Obama’s inaugural invocation.
Each week they hold eight general adult services (Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays), four kids services, and four babies services. See their hours and locations on Su Presencia’s mapa y horario page.
The church’s main personality is Pastor Andres, born in Australia but raised in Colombia. You can read about him and Rocio on their Nuestros Pastores page. I’ve heard they have a former drug addict as a church leader to help people trying to get away from that life. Register to donate here.
Latin America is the most Catholic continent by far, but Protestant churches are growing fast. In Arequipa I lived near a Mormon church. I know other Colombians beside Institute Pimp who go to Su Presencia. My Brazilian buddy in Recife called himself a Baptist. There are definite socio-economic and ethnic motivations in Latinos converting. When talking about God, many of the Latin Protestants I know employ themes of prosperity theology. It’s an upper class thing to be cristiano, and it makes it easier for other well-off families to get involved.
Su Presencia is too intense for me. I prefer somber and good old fashioned guilt. So if I go, I go to Catholic mass at Lourdes.
Below are pics of where people line up, the primary and secondary auditoriums (which you wouldn’t notice if you weren’t looking for it), and a cafe in the neighborhood called Peregrino’s. The neighborhood is a Christian district. This cafe shares space with a Christian bookstore where they sell non-denominational Christian books, CDs, DVDs, etc. All the top English books in Spanish, including my hometown’s Christian face figure Joyce Meyer. The cafe broadcasts footage from Houston of megachurch Lakewood‘s Spanish services.
Read about America’s Biggest Megachurches.