February 2, 2012

Rock Bands, Jumbotron Screens, Buckets of Tears and Oodles of Money

According to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, there are 1,414 megachurches in the US.  A megachurch is defined as a protestant church that sustains an average weekly attendance of 2000 people or more in their worship services.

The largest megachurch in the US actually has an average weekly attendance of 43,500.  Our next door town, Nappanee, has a population of just over 8,000, and our own church, Nappanee Missionary Church, is on the list of megachurches with over 2,700 in average weekly attendance.  We were actually kind of shocked to see our own church on this list, because we never hear anyone talk about how many people go to NMC.  I don’t think it’s a  ‘badge of spiritual honor’ to the leadership.  We’re just grateful that going deep in your spiritual walk and being ‘fully committed’ is a much stronger emphasis than how many people are in the seats.

We have no convoluted notion that the amount of megachurches in any given country is somehow the sign of spiritual health.  Even the secular world is suspicious of the concept:  "Rock bands, jumbotron screens, buckets of tears and oodles of money", they write. But it is interesting to note that in all of France, there is only 1 megachurch, which is located in Paris, and their average weekly attendance is 2,000.  There are only 2.4% evangelicals in the entire continent of Europe.  Only 2 of every 1,000 people living in Lyon profess to be evangelical… that’s 0.2% of 1.6 million people.

I don't know that France needs more megachurches, but I do know that there is a great need for Christ’s love and grace in Lyon.  Pray with us that God will continue to soften hearts to Him!

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