Close-knit Megachurches

Article by John Dart

The first systematic survey of U.S. megachurches has shown that while they average some 3,850 worshipers weekly, a full 50 percent of them say they feel like “a close-knit family.” The study also found that the very big congregations affiliated with a denomination tend to have tenuous ties at best to their national bodies. Theological …

Diagnose This!

Article by Daniel L. Bohlman

At the pastors’ conference, church diagnostician has been telling me and other glassy-eyed pastors that we have to start seeing things differently. Regional churches, more commonly known as megachurches, are the wave of the future. The statistics show "clearly" that megachurches will continue to draw more and more members because of their ability to provide …

Is Willow Creek the Way of the Future?

Article by David S. Leucke

Lyle Schaller calls Willow Creek “the most influential church in North America.” Judged by the amount of ink it has received, this assessment is believable. The terms “seeker service” and “believer’s service,” which originated at Willow Creek Community Church (located northwest of Chicago in South Barrington, Illinois), show up in the discussions of many congregation …

Megalessons

Article by Anthony B. Robinson

Book Review Beyond Megachurch Myths: What We Can Learn from America’s Largest Churches. By Scott Thumma and Dave Travis. Jossey-Bass, 256 pp. The Megachurch and the Mainline: Remaking Religious Tradition in the Twenty-First Century. By Stephen Ellingson. University of Chicago Press, 256 pp. When I speak to mainline Protestants about church life, I usually get …

The Lure of Upward Mobility

Article by Ralph S. Parvin

Henri Nouwen once referred to the incarnation as God’s act of “downward mobility.” Scripture assures us that God even exhibits downward mobility within the race — God is partial to the lowly and downtrodden. God liberated and commissioned the Egyptians’ slaves to be the “chosen” ones, and the “people of the land” — who believed …

The Ultimate Church

Article by Tom Raabe

Remember the superchurch movement of the 80s, when megachurches were in genesis and the glorification of largeness ran rampant throughout the Christian world? Remember how church-growth pastors the world over set seemingly preposterous membership goals? How remote it all seems in the year 2005, now that last century’s novas of growth have been eclipsed by …