John on September 23, 2008 at 9:02 am
From the Washington Post, Rodney Stark has done a new study of mega-churches which upends some conventional wisdom:
Researchers at the Institute for Studies of Religion, who defined megachurches as those with more than 1,000 worshipers, found that their members were twice as likely to have friends in the congregation than members of small churches. They also displayed a higher level of personal commitment to the church — attending services and tithing more often than small-church members.
Megachurches are often criticized for having “all sorts of flaws,” said Rodney Stark, co-director of the institute, based at Baylor University. “They’re big . . . they’re kind of cold, they have kind of like theater audiences — all wrong.”
The Baylor researchers found that megachurches tend to be more evangelical than small churches.
Ninety-two percent of megachurch members believe that hell “absolutely exists,” compared with just over three-quarters of small-church members, the survey found. And eight in 10 megachurch worshipers believe that the Rapture — when followers of Jesus Christ believe they will be taken to heaven — will “absolutely” take place, compared with less than half of those who attend small churches.
Because evangelical Christians are encouraged to share the Gospel with others, the Baylor researchers found that more than half of megachurch members said they shared their faith with strangers in the past month and more than 80 percent witness to friends — far more than those who attend small churches.
Somehow, I’m sure this is all sign of falling away from the true faith found primarily in small churches with proper hymnals and organ music.
Category: Religion & Faith |