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Are megachurches too big?

Dr. Scott Thumma wrote Mega Church Myths.* He answers some of the critiques leveled against them based on a survey he did for his book. It’s good fodder for discussion. What are your thoughts on megachurches?   Megachurches are cults of personality In some churches, “the pastor can becom…
By Seth Barnes

churchDr. Scott Thumma wrote Mega Church Myths.* He answers some of the critiques leveled against them based on a survey he did for his book. It’s good fodder for discussion. What are your thoughts on megachurches?

 
Megachurches are cults of personality

In some churches, “the pastor can become the visible symbol of and a potent ‘brand name’ for the church….”  The pastor is the center of the staff and the energy hub around which the congregation revolves. They are often passionate about evangelism.  They are also practical communicators.  They are creative and inquisitive persons who are willing to take risks and make mistakes as they manage the organization and also spiritually lead the congregation.

They are only concerned about themselves
All congregations must address their internal needs, but this also has to be balanced with a reciprocal external, contextual focus….  It has taken time for the megachurches to learn this balance.

Megachurches water down the faith
Most megachurches present a serious, high-commitment Christian message.  They present the Gospel in a culturally sensitive and relevant way.

They are bad for other churches

Megachurches have become resources and ministries to other churches and pastors in their communities.  They have developed teaching networks and alternative training institutions. 

Megachurches grow because of the show
About half the surveyed attendees say something related to the worship style drew them to the church.  Many perceive the worship as “high quality, inviting, and user-friendly. Worship is only one key to growth.  Outreach and evangelism are also key factors.  Megachurches excel at creating the structures and programs that help new people become incorporated into the church rather than drift away.

They are too big

Surveys show that participants feel connected. Mega churches structure
multiple ways for people to interact and form social ties.  They
organize into programs that address individual needs.
 
A megachurch is defined as a congregation that averages at least 2000 attendees in weekend services.  There are no ‘typical’ megachurches.  They are diverse.  Follow-up information about the book and a list of megachurches is available at www.megachurchmyths.com.
 
*I’m indebted to David Mays, who sends me summaries of books like the one about this book for free. To subscribe, go here.

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