Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Interesting News about Megachurches

An article by Cathy Lynn Grossman about declining attendance in megachurches appeared today at the USA Today website. Some quotes follow with my comments:

“After decades of soaring growth, the phenomenon of Protestant megachurches — behemoths of belief where 2,000 to 20,000 or more people attend weekend worship — may be stalled.”

I’m not sure what all the reasons are for this stall. One explanation may be that an overall downward growth trend for churches in America has caught up with the megachurches.

“Experts see more troubling concerns than slowing growth: No measurable inroads on overall church attendance and signs that many churchgoers are spectators, not driving toward a deeper faith.”

Bingo. Evangelism will not be very effective if a large percentage of our people are mere spectators who are not growing spiritually.

“ ‘The megachurch story is not really about growth, it's about shifting allegiances. People want to feel good about who they already are,’ says Philip Goff, director of the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University in Indianapolis. ‘If church is too challenging or not entertaining, they'll move on.’ ”

If Philip is correct, then biblical churches are not going to experience much growth. A biblical church greatly challenges its people and will not compete with the world’s entertainment standards. Plus, churches are in the transformation business. Radical transformation occurs with conversion and spiritual growth. Some churches say, “God loves you just as you are.” Churches should say, “God loves you in spite of how you are.”