Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Good, Bad, or Just Different?

Jesus Creed reports some megachurch statistics:
Here's what they say one loses if one moves into the smaller congregation:

1. Inspiring sounds of thousands singing, large and talented choirs, etc
2. What they find is that the faithful band is old, small and getting smaller.
3. They lose spreading the Good Tidings to others.
And the stats quoted are not quite as bad as one might think. It's enough to ask the question I ask in the title of this post - are megachurches good, bad, or just different?

Clearly they do some thing much better than small churches. The stats cited say nothing eithr way about discipleship - not even sure how one would survey that? It does discuss intimacy which is related to discipleship:
What about intimacy? 41% of megachurch members have half or more of their friends at their church vs. 25%, while 12% in megachurches have no friends vs. 22% in small churches.
That's not very instructive here.

My root complaint has always been that the megachurch is evangelism, not worship. It does some thing that vitally needs doing, and it does it much better than smaller congregations - but then what?

It suffers from the same problems we had in the para-church evangelistic organizations I have worked with - we get them to come, but we do not take them deep. So in essence it is just different.

The problems arise because like a Wal-Mart, they tend to push the competition out of the market, and thus the opportunity to go deep is lost.

I'm looking for the mega-church that looks to network with the greater church community - that serves as a gateway to deeper understandings - let both kinds of churches concentrate on what they do best. Imagine a mega church that says to someone that has been there a few years, "You've gotten all we have to offer, but you might want to go to XYZ." Likewise, XYZ will send evangelistic volunteers to megachurch.

Something like that might just change the world.

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