As I was searching the web today for something to peak my interest I ran across an interesting article by The New York Times. The article was based on a report entitled the US Religious Landscape Survey. The report was based on an extensive phone survey conducted with over 35,000 Americans. The article also cited a less extensive study known as The Pew Survey.
The point of each survey was to find out more about the religious landscape of America which most of you probably know isn’t that great at present. One of the most interesting things to me about the article and surveys was that the churches that seem to be moving in a positive direction are the ones growing both larger and smaller.
In the article, Boston University professor Stephen Prothero says; “Those losing out are offering impersonal religion,” he said, “and those winning are offering a smaller scale: mega-churches succeed not because they are mega but because they have smaller ministries inside.”
Simply put, people crave relationships. God made us this way and his desire for church was never meant to be a one and done process but a place where people could worship, connect, and grow. Many churches seem to have the first part down but the last two obviously need more focus.
Mega Churches are frequently criticized, usually by people who have never been to one, because there is the perception that most present a watered down gospel and offer little to no personal connections for the people who fill their building each week. In most cases nothing could be further from the truth. Most mega churches achieve “mega” status because, as their numbers increase, they find ways to offer more intimate small group settings and connect with people.
True growth occurs through relationship and true relationship cannot be achieved on Sunday mornings alone. Among the many changes the church needs to enact the fact that people both want and need relationship must be recognized and we, as the church, must do a better job at meeting it.
You can find the New York Times article at: