Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Not really about growth

USA TODAY notes that the "megachurch" growth rate has slowed and describes some of the reasons. In the process, the article also describes the more serious problem of the increasing number of those not attracted to or affected by any church at all. Much church growth is simply a matter of attracting people from other churches - not bringing the good news to those who are not Christians.
The unchurched remain untouched. While the number of people who say they attend at least once a week hovers around 30% year after year, the number who say they "never" go to church climbs.

The tally of "Nevers" varies from 16% in Gallup surveys to 22% in the General Social Survey, conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, to 32% in an Ellison Research survey this year. The new "Nevers" come from the pool of people who once attended monthly or a few times a year.

Many slide away from church to find other answers to their spiritual quest or another church where the preaching or music or family programs better suit their style.

"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."
Amid dwindling numbers, megachurches seek the 'seekers' - USATODAY.com

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jim,

    Thanks for referencing that article about megachurches.

    While attending a conference in April, I was quite impressed with the RHMA-- Rural Home Missionary Association, based in Morton, IL. They have a real calling and mission to plant and support churches in small towns and rural areas. Their website is www.rhma.org. Under "About Us" lists their background, core beliefs, values and vision. Good group. While they celebrate a church's smallness (offering special things that a megachurch cannot) they still work hard at the Great Commission to grow the Kingdom--just on a smaller scale.



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