A Balanced and Well Thought Out Critique of the “Mega Church”

Check out this article:


It’s not a short one… but it’s really worth the read if you’d like to hear a “fair and balanced” observation of the “mega church” phenomenon in America right now… Here’s a few snippets if that’s all you have time for:

I have no doubt, and I believe with all my heart, that THERE ARE GOOD THINGS, AMAZING THINGS, INDEED KINGDOM LIFE CHANGING THINGS, GOING ON IN THE MEGA CHURCH. And I also believe that not all mega churches are the same.

Nonetheless I still contend that we must question the nature of Kingdom work being furthered through the megachurch phenomenon of evangelicalism in America. There are important questions that need to be asked concerning a.) how the structures/rituals of megachurches form Christians into passive observers, consumers of entertainment and gospel information, b.) the inherent structural encumbrances which are enormous hurdles to overcome in actually being the living, organic “body of Christ” in the sense that the pages of the NT call us to, and c.) the challenges structurally to overcome in simply maintaining a leadership that is in integrity with what it means to be a servant in the sense that our Lord himself calls us to. All of this I have written extensively on in the book The Great Giveaway. I have no intention on rehearsing the arguments in that book.

After traveling and talking around the country for 2 years, my tentative conclusion is: per capita, per person, per dollar spent, the really significant impact for salvations, justice and outreach are exactly here in these organic, non-produced, non attractional missional communities emerging all over N. America. I am not asking that all mega churches cease existence. I am just suggesting that denominations and seminaries not get mesmerized by mega-strategy when assessing missional strategies going forward.

And here’s just one of the slew of comments that people left, I think it further supports the author’s points:

Your thoughts are confirmed by research. One of the biggest studies, carried out across the world by Natural Church Development, found that congregations of less than 100 were 1600% more successful in bringing people into faith than the mega-churches!

(I’m trying to find the study the commenter referenced, no luck yet. I’ll update the post once I find it…)

(HT: Jesus Creed – Scot McKnight)


5 thoughts on “A Balanced and Well Thought Out Critique of the “Mega Church”

  1. One curiosity is this statistic: the average attendance in churches across Amereca is 75. The actual attendance at at least half the curches in the country is under 100 people. And that is typically 40-80. Also that number remains consistent year after year with those churches with the excepion that the older the age of the congregation the higher the attrition rate is with the net result of steadily declining attendance.

    If the smaller church is indeed “bringing people into faith”, where are they going? Because it is not to that church that brought them in. On the other hand, many mega -churches continue to grow.

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