Monday, October 10, 2011
Roller Coaster Faith
Most congregations are small; most worshipers attend large congregations. Sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? But it’s true. There is a substantial gap between where the largest numbers of people worship and the size of the typical congregation. This gap means that what a typical congregation looks like is remarkably different from what the typical worshiper experiences. Most congregations are small—about six in ten congregations in this country have fewer than 125 people in worship. But most worshipers attend large congregations—the largest ten percent of congregations attract half of all worshipers.Why does the phrase "Many are called, few are chosen" come to mind almost immediately? I am not at all sure what that says more about - the church or people that attend it.
I have contended for a long time that the megachurch phenomena is the parachurch writ large. It's what Young Life, and Campus Crusade, and all the rest used to be - just packaged as church instead of parachurch. These stats seem to confirm that suspicion. What this demonstrates is with I thought the problem with the parachurch was - how to move people from that evangelical experience into real depth and commitment to life with Christ - how to move from agreement to commitment.
IN the parachurch we wanted to partner with local congregations. Problem was , we need to partner with many so that the kinds that flowed through us could go tot he congregation of their choice. Congregations on the other hand wanted exclusivity.
Now here is what I wonder - could there be a partnership between these smallish, and assumedly committed, congregations and the megachurch? Could the megachurch become the feeder/sorter the parachurch endeavored to be? It seems antithetical to what the parachurch has set it self up to be, but....