A small church in the NCD sample with an average attendance of fifty-one typically converted thirty-two persons in five years; megachurches in the NCD sample averaged 2, in attendance but converted only new persons in five years.
The same number of persons participating in fifty-six small churches averaging fifty-one in attendance would have produced 1, converts in five years. I know such extrapolations in some ways mean little. I also know that conversions is not the whole picture. My point is that we need to stop seeing smaller churches as less successful. The trend currently is seeing the closing down of smaller churches as larger ones increase in size and number and I think this could be an alarming trend given the actual facts when we measure true influence. When I mention statistics like these I am often criticized as being a mega church hater, and that is not fair.
I am not a hater.
I am not a bride-basher because I love the groom too much. It is hard for me to feel sorry for the mega churches when this information confronts them given that they are so often lifted up as the height of success—often at the expense of the smaller church around the corner. My advice: Get over it. I am not thrashing the mega church here, I am simply saying that smaller churches are necessary, needed, and often more fruitful than we have been led to believe. Whether that changes the trajectory of a shrinking congregation is a secondary issue.
Health is the goal. If every small church became healthy tomorrow, the church and the world would change overnight. I was in high school and starting to take part in leadership of the church youth group. So I fought the call for a couple years before accepting it.
For many years, it was intimidating and very frustrating. One of the shifts we made when we decided to stop thinking like a big church was to stop competing with them. Theologically, we understood that we were not in competition with megachurches. But emotionally we were competing with them. So we quit. We started counter programming. We decided to offer a more intimate setting where people could know others and be known by them.
This new configuration of religious life is a result of the creative adaptation to a changing social situation. Rob Tennant commented on Jun 4, Our church has new members through birth, baptism, and people moving every year single year. The time changes, the days shorten, and the holidays really begin since Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Jesus has been building His church for 2, years using all kinds of people, all types of methods, all styles and sizes of churches. The architecture of this orientation, "communicates a message - that religion is not a thing apart from daily life" Goldberger b1.
We put that right up front. I think there are some people who are discipled better in a larger church, and there are plenty of others who are discipled better in a more intimate environment. We are that environment. The church in North America is undergoing a massive identity crisis right now. That is changing dramatically now. It has already changed in Canada, which has been post-Christian for a generation. Most of the urban centers of America have been or are becoming post-Christian. The Bible Belt is just now experiencing that.
So we can no longer make the assumptions we used to make when we do ministry.
Most of us are still playing catch up on that reality and on discovering new language to speak into that reality. There have always been lots of bivocational pastors, but we used to think of that as a stepping-stone to a full-time ministry position. We need to work hard at getting spiritual and emotional input to match our output. That might be fellowship with other pastors, or having a mentor or spiritual director.
We have to be intentional about it. Your church is big enough.
While megachurches continue to experience mega-growth, the question emerges: Just how are they growing? While there may be no one. 3 Reasons Big Churches Keep Getting Bigger. According to recent research, the megachurch phenomenon doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Share on.
Stanley was visibly passionate in the video when he talked about the best way to engage the next generation. Stanley assumes that highly targeted, age-segregated environments are the best way to engage the next generation.
As if, all small churches preach an undiluted gospel. Or small churches never have problems creating community. Or small churches never have authoritarian pastors who treat their congregation like their personal fiefdom. Tension between smaller and larger churches is on the rise.
Many big churches are getting bigger, and many small churches are getting smaller. As a result of the tension, silly stereotypes and bad assumptions abound. The tension between larger and smaller churches is unfortunate, because the wrong assumptions and offensive stereotypes keep us from deeper questions:.
Instead of asking and answering these questions, we settle for cheap shots and broad-brush attacks on others.