Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mega Churches Decline


USAToday carried an interesting article last week concerning the future of mega churches.

it was entitled:

As their numbers stall, mega churches seek 'seekers'
By Cathy Lynn Grossman

the main ideas of the article were these:

mega churches are experiencing:

  • Growth Decline
  • Church as Spectators
  • Unchurch remaining untouched

the article quoted philip goff, director of the center for the study of religion and american culture at indiana university in indianapolis, "The mega church story is not really about growth, it's about shifting allegiances. People want to feel good about who they already are. If church is too challenging or not entertaining, they'll move on."

besides cutting to the very heart of discipleship -- spectator are not disciples -- the most troubling idea here is that, like most other churches, these large churches are not reaching new people either. instead, they are merely moving members from smaller churches to larger ones because their programming is slick and demand for commitment is low.

william chadwick has studied this in his book, stealing sheep. He calls it transfer growth.

if this is true, then it may be that the that the smaller churches have given all they could give for the cause of the mega churches.

of course, the deeper issue here is that, if the church-going populations remains 30% year after year, and if the churches are not, in fact, reaching new people only people moving to a new team (for a player not to be named later), then is is not true that christendom is dying?