By Mark A. Taylor
There’s much to feel good about in this year’s annual megachurch issue. Read through these reports carefully. Look at all the numbers in the small-print sidebars. The statistics indicate many victories won, many reasons to celebrate what these churches are accomplishing.
There’s Hillside Christian Church, Amarillo, Texas, for example, the fastest growing church (62 percent in one year!) reported here.
Or Christ’s Church of the Valley in Peoria, Arizona, whose growth rate since 1997 is a whopping 451 percent!
With 700 baptisms in 2007, Christ’s Church of the Valley was one of five churches from our list with the most baptisms in 2007. Together these five baptized 4,442 last year! Central Christian in Henderson, Nevada, led the list with 1,415 baptisms.
Be sure to study this issue even if yours isn’t a megachurch. One responder to our March 9 survey wrote, “While we’re proud of [our megachurches] and are glad for them, their techniques, concerns, methods, and successes are not very relevant for those of us in smaller churches and/or smaller communities.”
Kent Fillinger, the primary contributor to this issue, disagrees. He analyzes megachurches with an eye toward smaller churches and makes a point of highlighting growth indicators that any church can use. You’ll find several of these in this week’s articles.
Not all the news this year is good, however. The total number of baptisms among our megachurches and emerging megachurches is down by 6 percent. Their total growth was only 3.2 percent, down from 4.4 percent in 2006, the lowest growth rate in a decade.
While this growth is better than that for several denominations, Fillinger points out that evangelical churches in general have experienced slow growth since 2004.
This issue suggests strategies for halting the decline. It is the most substantive, thorough megachurch issue Christian Standard has ever published. But it is only the beginning of the interesting analysis Fillinger and his partner Ben Simms have done. Notice the ordering information on this page for the 2007 Megachurch Report: Deluxe Edition available now from Standard Publishing. For everyone interested in growing churches, it will be an indispensable resource.
Megachurch Report: Deluxe Edition
Get this valuable report with executive summaries, bonus articles, special features, easy-to-read charts and graphs, and background information on all the Christian church and church of Christ megachurches listed in this issue.
Available for easy download now. Just go to www.standardpub.com (it is item 01100). Only $19.99.