Meditations (Web)Church

A year (and a bit) in the life of NewSpring's first Web pastor

Megachurch study filled with positives

with 5 comments

Mention the word “megachurch” and the chances are the response won’t be positive.

But a close reading of Hartford Seminary‘s analysis of megachurch attendersthe most comprehensive to date — offers plenty of reasons to think that these large, Christ-centered, culturally-relevant congregations might have proved critics wrong.

The study found:

Megachurches widen the funnel for people to come into the Christian fold. More than a third of the congregation was young and/or single — a demographic that is more or less absent from traditional churches — and 25 percent were new to “church” as a whole. So much for megachurches just stealing attenders from other churches!

Megachurch attenders are active and engaged. More than 70 percent of attenders described themselves as “active participants,” and nearly half of attenders who have been at their church longer than 2 years report that their involvement increased.

About 20 percent of surveyed attenders said they weren’t active participants in church life outside services, and yet they exhibited strong signs of personal, spiritual development, with a fourth of this group praying and reading the Bible daily, 40 percent worshiping weekly, and three fourths having invited people to services. So much for unengaged, passive consumers!

Megachurch attenders are growing spiritually. Three-fourths of all attenders say they read the Bible and pray daily or often during the week. After 10 years, half or more of megachurch attenders are tithers, compared to only 34 percent at traditional churches. So much for megachurches being breeding grounds for a weaker, watered down Christian practice.

There’s other great stuff in there, too. You should read the whole thing.

I’m guessing that the same dynamics that led to criticism of the megachurch will be leveled at the web church once it, too, is firmly established as a new expression of church.

And the study might offer hope to the Web church that it is adding to the fullness of Christ’s kingdom positioned as a complement to other church expressions for those who Bobby Gruenewald <a href=”http://swerve.lifechurch.tv/2009/06/11/who-are-you-reaching/”>defined recently</a> as “distant, mobile, curious and digital.”

Thoughts?

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Written by NickCharalambous

June 15, 2009 at 9:50 am

Posted in evangelism, web campus

Tagged with ,

5 Responses

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  1. […] through life’s seasons The Hartford Seminary megachurch study illuminated, among other things, the fact that their appeal was dramatically greater among the young and the mobile. In […]

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