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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

2005 Megachurch Statistics Report and Ascol's Analysis

The Hartford Institute for Religious Research has recently released a statistical report of megachurches for the 2005 year. They define a megachurch as "any congregation with a sustained average weekly attendance of 2,000 persons or more in its worship services." According to this report, there are over 1,200 megachurches in the United States which are broken down by denomination. This is a dramatic increase since 1990 where there were only 350 megachurches and in 2,000 where there were 600 megachurches. The avereage megachurch is also said to have 3,857 persons. Here are some of the links to their research: Profile of all U.S. Megachurches Summary Report Detailed Data Comparison of 2000 and 2005 Study Database of Megachurches in the U.S. As many of you already know, P&P has been a critic of the church growth movement in America. It is important to qualify that statement by saying that I am NOT against church growth! There are many issues underlying the church growth movement which are very harmful to the Church, not the least of which is the lack of church discipline and value of church membership. You can go here and see all the megachurches listed by denomination, and as you scroll down to the SBC, you will see SBC megachurches whose average attendance reported are nowhere near what is actually true. Furthermore consider the following reports as studied by Tom Ascol: 2001 27905 members 21555 resident members 982 baptisms 683 other additions 9035 primary worship attendance 2002 28325 members 21686 resident members 801 baptisms 720 other additions 9186 primary worship attendance 2003 28837 members 21987 resident members 774 baptisms 652 other additions 8828 primary worship attendance 2004 29349 members 22189 resident members 774 baptisms 667 other additions 9168 primary worship attendance Obviously, this would constitute as a megachurch. Now hear Ascol's analysis:

In 4 years, according to the ACP, this church baptized 3331 people and had 2720 other additions. This means that 6051 people joined the church from 2001-2004. Yet, the primary worship attendance in 2001 was 9035 and in 2004 was 9168 or a total increase of 133. The resident membership increased from 21555 in 2001 to 22189 in 2004, a total of 634.
Again, Ascol gives another account of a megachurch in the SBC: 2001 3506 members 203 baptisms 253 other additions 2200 primary worship attendance 2002 3812 members 296 baptisms 190 other additions 2100 primary worship attendance 2003 4011 members 209 baptisms 137 other additions 2031 primary worship attendance 2004 4163 members 237 baptisms 204 other additions 1874 primary worship attendance Ascol replies,
"Granted, they have baptized 945 people during that 4 year period and they have added 784 people by other means. But the church membership only grew by 657. It took 1729 new members for the church to grow by 657 members. In addition those 1729 new members resulted in 326 fewer worshipers! If the church continues to grow at this rate then by the time it adds around 10,000 new members the preacher will be preaching to an empty auditorium at his 'primary worship' service."
It looks like there are more problems out there than we realize, and this is just one of many. A small book which I highly recommend to you is by Os Guiness called Dining With the Devil: The Megachurch Movement Flirts With Modernity (Baker, 1993). Also, you may want to check out MacArthur's Ashamed of the Gospel: When the Church Becomes Like the World (Crossway, 1993) and This Little Church Went to Market: Is the Modern Church Reaching Out or Selling Out? (Evangelical Press, 2005) by Gary Gilley.

3 Comments:

Blogger CM said...

I'd be interested to compare the percentage of these churches to smaller churches. I'm almost willing to bet they would be similar.

3/16/2006 12:22:00 AM

 
Blogger The Pope said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3/16/2006 01:45:00 PM

 
Blogger The Traveler said...

Wow... I wonder how many of these "members" have a clue as to what the gospel is. Sure they probably heard it but probably also forgot it.

Calvin said a true church must excercise church discipline or else its not a true church... sobering words for the American Church. (Note: "American Church"... not "today's church")

Makes me want to move to China.

3/16/2006 01:46:00 PM

 

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