Tuesday, February 28, 2006
The Hartford Seminary just released a wide-ranging survey includes data on the many attributes that together define the nature and impact of megachurches in our society. Collectively, the results debunk 11 of the most common beliefs about megachurches, namely:
MYTH #1: All megachurches are alike. REALITY: They differ in growth rates, size and emphasis.
MYTH #2: All megachurches are equally good at being big. REALITY: Some clearly understand how to function as a large institution, but others flounder.
MYTH #3: There is an over-emphasis on money in the megachurches. REALITY: The data disputes this.
MYTH #4: Megachurches exist for spectator worship and are not serious about Christianity. REALITY: Megachurches generally have high spiritual expectations and serious orthodox beliefs.
MYTH #5: Megachurches are not deeply involved in social ministry. REALITY: Considerable ministry is taking place at and through these churches.
MYTH #6: All megachurches are pawns of or powerbrokers to George Bush and the Republican Party. REALITY: The vast majority of megachurches are not politically active.
MYTH #7: All megachurches have huge sanctuaries and enormous campuses. REALITY: Megachurches make widespread use of multiple worship services over several days, multiple venues and even multiple campuses.
MYTH #8: All megachurches are nondenominational. REALITY: The vast majority belong to some denomination.
MYTH #9: All megachurches are homogeneous congregations with little diversity. REALITY: A large and growing number are multi-ethnic and intentionally so.
MYTH #10: Megachurches grow primarily because of great programming. REALITY: Megachurches grow because excited attendees tell their friends.
MYTH #11: The megachurch phenomenon is on the decline. REALITY: The data suggests that many more megachurches are on the way.
Many people, however, hold to a belief that size does matter, inferring that something must be wrong if a church is growing. Case in point is a recent post on 'Slice of Laodicea'. Click here to read post. I want to know from your experience: do people look more or less favorably on a large church, and why is there animosity towards big churches?