Mega-church Central Christian bringing Jesus to Sin City

Mega-church Central Christian bringing Jesus to Sin City

By Beth Fisher. CREATED May 20, 2013

Henderson, NV (KTNV) -- Las Vegas is in the national news a lot thanks to the Strip, the shows, and the nightlife but something's happening in Henderson that has the world watching for a whole different reason. Church. But this is about as un-church like as you can get. From the loud music to the coffee shop, Central Christian Church is bringing Jesus to the masses.

Nick Griffith has attended for 10 years.  "Everybody is welcome. It's a place where I come and I feel at home. No one is judgmental whatsoever."
And that is what person after person in this packed lobby will tell you -- its okay to not be okay here.
Senior Pastor Judd Wilhite explains, "I think that's what it's okay to not be okay means. I'm a broken person. I don't have it all together. And I need the grace and mercy of God every day in my life."
Wilhite has pastored Central Christian for 10 years. In that time, social media and technology have changed things.  But he says the message remains the same. "You have 27,000 Twitter followers. Yes. We're using media and all that stuff but for me the core thing is still to love God and love people."
They use lots of tools to attract people to their church. Rockin' music, apps for your iPhone, and celebrity guests, like Jace from "Duck Dynasty" who is coming Father's Day weekend.
Jayne Post says she feels comfortable inviting friends here.  "My husband and I do a dinner show at the D -- "Marriage can be Murder."  So as an actress comedienne, I love the entertainment value but there is also this deep message that changes lives."
Changing the lives of everyone from strippers to CEOs who call Central Christian home. And that's the idea.  They intentionally welcome people who've never set foot in church before.
And people in Sin City aren't  the only ones responding to this modern church. Thousands of people watch the live feed from their churches in Alaska, Arizona, Florida, and Australia. Not to mention the four campuses in Southern Nevada.
Erin Robertson explains why she comes to church here. "I think because of our concept that it's OK to not be OK. it really sits with people's hearts. I might be a sinner. I might be down on my luck now.  But God is still here for you."
But it may be the music that plays the biggest role in helping people feel comfortable here. 
Drew Bodine is the executive pastor of what they call the weekend experience. "We want people to come in off the street and just feel like the music sound is something they're familiar with."
Not only does Drew lead an incredibly talented group of artists -- many of them recording artists -- but he writes original music too.  His latest called Relentless debuted right here at Central Christian.  That song has already been downloaded by thousands of Christians and people who are learning about Christ for the first time. In Sin City.
Pastor Wilhite says Sin City is exactly where the church belongs. "Romans says where sin abounds grace abounds even more."
Which is why Central Christian plans to expand and continue building churches in the most unlikely places.
Not everything about this church is unexpected. For example, they do a lot to help families in crisis and last year alone, they gave out more than 400,000 pounds of food. For more information about Central Christian's four campuses or service times, click here.
Beth Fisher

Beth Fisher

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Beth Fisher is an anchor for Good Morning Las Vegas and reports on the positive news in Las Vegas.