Monday, March 13, 2006

Megachurches Report

Check out the Megachurches Report, published by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, at http://hirr.hartsem.edu/org/megastoday2005summaryreport.pdf .


I found a few things espescially interesting, including:

  • The section on eleven misconceptions explored (page 16) is a great list of busted myths. For example, the vast majority of megachurches belong to a denomination (6% are AG).
  • Washington state is ranked 12th among the states, with 30 megachurches (appendix A, page 20). That is particularly interesting to me since we're told, a lot, that Washington is unchurched. Don't try to tell that to the 37,000 people who show up to worship in those churches next Sunday.
  • As the education levels of the pastors decrease, the rates of growth of these [mega]churches increase (page 15).
  • It seems that these days, the musical instrument that indicates the difference between contemporary worship and traditional worship is the piano. The word organ only appears once in this 27 page document.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was particularly intrigued by a couple of stats:

1. Worship styles at these very large churches are continually evolving. Only 15% of churches say their format or style at any weekend service hasn’t changed in the past 5 years.

2. Compared to the study of 5 years ago, this new data indicated considerably more churches choosing an evangelical label, while fewer claim the Pentecostal, charismatic and moderate theological designation.

It seems to me that this reflects the fact that change is a necessary element of missional outreach (change is increasingly challenging for aging and traditional congregations). It also perhaps shows that fewer churches find the term “Pentecostal” to be a positive perception in the context of our culture.

Anonymous said...

One thing I have always found puzzling is how many mistakes are included in the report regarding basic facts: pastors name, attendance, city and denomination. Still it is useful.

Neary said...

In regard to Pentecostal... I don't think most people know what it means.

I noticed errors in the data too... but I agree that the summary reports are still useful.

Randy said...

As I read the survey and results I could not help but think about Carl Georges book "Prepare your church for the future" written in 1991. The ideas he stated thre are ringing very true. Carls books and consulting are worn text in many mega churches. They are more like Georges Meta-Church than most folks realize.