Aren't all megachurches alike? Exploring postmodern myths such as this and many more, Thuma and Travis take a serious look at the misconceptions surrounding one of the most popular but little-understood phenomena in the contemporary church. They examine the social composition, scale, outreach, scope, and other issues that often perplex seekers and skeptics alike. 256 pages, hardcover from Jossey-Bass.
Drawing on extensive, broad-based, and well-designed research, as well as stories and anecdotes, Beyond Megachurch Myths dispels popluar myths about megachurches while highlighting the diversity within the megachurch phenomenon. Defining a megachurch as a Protestant church that averages at least 2000 total attendees in their weekend services, Scott Thumma and Dave Travis reveal what these churches are and are not, why they are thriving, what their members say about their experiences, and why they have many valuable lessons to teach smaller churches.
Dr. Scott Thumma
is a researcher in the Hartford Institute for Religion Research and a faculty member of Hartford Seminary.
Dave Travis is the executive vice president of Leadership Network, the premier church networking organization for innovative churches. He is the author of Beyond the Box: Innovative Churches That Work.
This data-driven description of American megachurches is aimed at leaders and
members of smaller congregations who may harbor apprehensions about this
growing phenomenon. Chapter by chapter, the authors tackle common
misconceptions of churches with more than 2,000 attendees and suggest that
they are simply Christian neighbors with a different-looking storefront who
are here to stay a while and who have much to offer smaller churches willing
to learn. However, the collaboration of the two writers (one an academic and
the other a consultant for church leadership) is disjointed, with the
"applying what you have read" sections at the end of each chapter feeling
tacked on to the richer content of the main text. One of the strongest
chapters confronts the "myth" that megachurches are akin to Wal-Mart in that
they grow at the expense of existing congregations. The authors argue that
megachurches feed a constant cycle of "birth, growth, maturity and decline"
needed to "help keep churches and religion in America strong and vital."
Readers are reminded that Christianity comes in many different packages and
that the market for religion can and should be tapped in a variety of ways.
(Aug.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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