Megachurches, those with more than 2,000 people or more, are exploding with growth, increased money, pay raises and increasing staff, according to new research.
I think small churches are feeling the economic and societal shift crunch first, and the few people and the dollars are being absorbed or attracted by the big churches. If you have little money and few or no volunteers, how can you provide the level of opportunity or service such megachurches provide?
If I was looking for a church these days I'd probably be choosing a place that had what we wanted, too.
But consumerist values are part of our spiritual decline as well.
We go where we are given most, or where our dollars have the greatest return. We want to be comfortable, get in and get the best and get out.
We are the Starbucks generation; we want connection but not community.
We want to be a part of churches doing something but not have to do anything.
It's easier to join something moving than get something moving.
Most often the larger the crowd, the broader the message. Defused lights versus concentrated light are both needed, but produce different results.
Small churches attract creeps, cranks and cults. It's a breeding ground for the dysfunctional, disenfranchised, depressed and the dislocated and this is a recipe for drama and trauma. The results are more devastating among a small group, it's always a near death experience.
Small churches are hard to hide within so accountability is high. Sin gets discovered quicker, it's impact is more acute.
Everything is felt with greater feeling in a small congregation, a blessing is huge, a wounding is crippling.
Big or small churches all have problems and opportunities but the canaries are dropping dead and the little ones go first.
If we, the 'littlest flocks,' survive it will be because of uncanny grace, grit, nerve and pluck, willingness to change and prayerful, Spirit-sent revival.