Presentation on theme: "New ways of being BIG Scott Thumma Hartford Institute For Religion Research Hartford Seminary, Hartford CT Without being BIG."— Presentation transcript:
New ways of being BIG Scott Thumma Hartford Institute For Religion Research Hartford Seminary, Hartford CT Without being BIG
The goal less overhead less infrastructure costs less conflict with the community less duplication of effort less impulse to build big in resources big in impact big in ministry activities big in influence big in the Kingdom
The Internet is the model little overhead, shared resources, interconnected nodes, customizable, and yet a major influence. All megachurches do this out of necessity.
A Very Large Church is: Costly – higher price to build. An Encumbrance – higher cost to maintain. Conflictual – creates battles with local neighbors, city, and the environment. A Challenge – to keep filled.
THE FACTS Just because a congregation attains several thousand in worship does not mean it has a large sanctuary. The median (midpoint of the range – meaning 50% were below and 50% above this figure) seating capacity of the largest worship service was 1,400. Only 5% of megachurches have sanctuaries of 3,000 seats or more. 53% of churches hold four or more services over two or three days.
Nearly all (97%) megachurches hold multiple worship services, with 5% holding 9 or more each weekend.
A majority of megachurches felt they had insufficient building space for their ministries.
These churches have found other ways of creating enough seating for those who want to attend. At least 50% of churches use multiple venues for worship as well as satellite locations to increase seating capacity. Half of these say the multiple services are somewhat or very different in style from their main worship service. Over a third of churches (37%) helped plant at least one new congregation in the past 5 years.
Twenty-seven percent of megachurches hold services at satellite locations (up 5% in 5 years) and another 27% are considering doing this. Of this group with multi-site locations, three quarters have just one or two additional locations, but 10% have more than 5 separate locations. Twenty-two percent of congregations claimed to have started a satellite or off- site campus since 2000.
34% employ a multiple venue worship service format where these services with distinctive styles and focus are held simultaneously in buildings on their main campus.
Alternatives Multiple worship services Venue worship services Church planting Multiple campuses Using existing buildings Networking of like-minded churches
Multiple Worship Services Cons increases the load on the senior minister increases work load for staff doing multiple services makes service times rigid – in and out, less flexibility or lingering less interpersonal interaction with whole congregation, maybe clichés form perhaps decreased attendance when senior minister isn’t preaching Pros less need to build larger buildings to accommodate everyone give your best leaders practice at leading worship provide flexibility of service times tailors the services to suit different interests, sub- cultural groups
Venue Worship Services Pros tailors the venues to suit different interests, sub cultural groups provide flexibility of service times give your best leaders practice at leading worship decreased work load on senior minister less need to build larger buildings to accommodate everyone Cons Can divide your congregation into clichés or sub-groups increases need for more staff doing multiple services at the same time less impact than with one huge congregation the senior minister is only viewed through the screen complex technological challenges in broadcasting sermon
Church Planting Pros give your best leaders their own congregations allow them to grow in own directions enable new ministries to tailor to new areas reduce load on senior minister enhance church reach into other parts of the country Cons little control over pastor’s vision duplicating of work load due to running the many churches separately less impact than with one huge congregation considerable cost and risk in getting planted churches to thrive harder to keep in contact with daughter churches
Over a third of megachurches are Multi-site Multiple Site Campuses
Pros give your best leaders their own congregations allow them to grow in own directions enable new ministries to tailor to new areas reduce load on senior minister Less congestion and pressure on the main campus Less driving for members Cons Can divide your congregation into sub-groups by areas of the city need for duplicating efforts throughout the city less impact than with one huge congregation the senior minister is only viewed through the screen complex technological challenges in broadcasting sermon
An old idea going in new directions - Storefront churches Mall spaces School spaces Existing Churches Hotels Businesses Stadiums Movie theaters Using Existing Buildings National Community Church meets in the movie theaters at Union Station National Community Church meets in the Regal Theaters located on the 4th floor at Ballston Common Mall.
Network with smaller churches to: address large community & national issues be supportive of other clergy create alliances share resources educate and instruct each other influence religious trends in place of or in addition to national denominations Networking of Like-Minded Churches In 2000 – 20% of megachurches belonged to a Network, Fellowship or Association of churches
A large presence does not require a large building - only a large vision.