inside look at megachurches
I think this book will be the buzz for the rest of the year. People are fascinated and frustrated by megachurches for many reasons; and, because they’re big, they’re easier targets to take shots at. (I heard a couple of shots just this afternoon, in fact.) This new book,
Beyond Megachurch Myths: What We Can Learn from America’s Largest Churches, gives an inside look at the reality of megachurches and highlights many transferable principles for churches and ministries of any size. In this interview published in Leadership Network Advance (free bi-weekly e-newsletter), authors Scott Thumma and Dave Travis give readers perspective on how they anticipate the book will impact American churches::
Why did you write this book?
[Scott] We wrote it to clear up the misunderstandings about what megachurches are, how they are a diverse phenomenon, and yet how they are distinctive from smaller congregations. Generally there has been too much talk about megachurches with too little reference to actual data and research about them.
[Dave] After answering lots of questions from people who are not part of megachurches, including reporters, church leaders, professors and the like, we decided to write a book based on
research and observations that clarified the current state of megachurches. From what we’ve seen, the popular picture painted of megachurches in the press was wrong in many key areas. Our book is an attempt to clear up those “myths” that circulate about these churches.
These churches have profoundly influenced American religious life and yet there are almost no books written about the phenomenon as a whole. There are quite a number of practitioner books based on one church example. Further, there are dissertations based on a small handful of megachurches. Our book seeks to cover the entire ground of megachurches in North America today.
The rest of the interview gives the authors’ answers to questions like: What is new about your research? What are some of the big surprises about megachurches? What can church leaders learn from your book? Who is the book for and why should they read it? What’s one thing you’ve learned from your experience with megachurches?
[disclosure: I am currently on staff with Leadership Network.]