newsFaith

Plano megachurch faces backlash over extravagant Christmas show

Prestonwood Baptist has produced “The Gift of Christmas” for more than a quarter-century, but this year’s production is drawing criticism online.

A Plano megachurch faced a blistering attack on social media this week after a video showing its rehearsal for an extravagant Christmas production went viral.

Footage posted to TikTok showed several performers at Prestonwood Baptist Church gliding through the air, suspended by cables, as they beat their drums in unison.

The word “Jesus” is projected in white letters onto a massive screen behind the stage, with purple, blue and green lights flashing in the background.

The video has been viewed more than 1.7 million times on TikTok, where it has received 140,000 likes and more than 11,000 comments, many negative, since it was posted Sunday.

“Tell me the preacher has a private jet without telling me the preacher has a private jet,” one commenter said.

“The only other time I saw this level of theatrics is when I attended a KISS concert ...,” another wrote.

“Yet still churches don’t pay taxes,” said another.

Prestonwood’s annual production, The Gift of Christmas, tells the story of Christmas with the manger, shepherds, Joseph, Mary and Jesus, with special effects, a nearly 1,000-member cast and choir, a live orchestra, flying angels and live animals. Tickets cost $19 to $59, with shows from Dec. 2 to 11.

Executive pastor Mike Buster said in a written statement that Prestonwood has “pulled out all the stops in celebration of the birth of Jesus” for more than a quarter of a century.

“It’s unfortunate that the perennial American tradition of the church Christmas program now draws hateful ire from some,” Buster said. “We pray that they, too, may come to know the joy of Christmas and the love of our Savior.”

Tony Daussat, who posted the footage on TikTok, said in a follow-up post that he does not attend the church but saw the video on Facebook and thought it was funny.

“It made me laugh, not because of some disdain I have for churches, but because there’s flying drummers,” he said. “It’s objectively funny.”

Prestonwood is one of the largest and most influential Southern Baptist churches in the U.S., with a membership of nearly 50,000 across three campuses, with two others in Prosper and Lewisville.

Earlier this year, a scathing third-party investigation into sex abuse at Southern Baptist churches found church leaders suppressed reports of sexual abuse for two decades. The report said Prestonwood and its longtime lead pastor, Jack Graham, helped protect an alleged abuser from criminal charges in 1989.

The church vehemently denied the report’s characterization of the incident.

Breaking News

Breaking News

Get the latest breaking news from North Texas and beyond.

By signing up you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy