Are Megachurches "Corrosive"?
I had the opportunity to go and hear Randy Harris speak on Monday night. In my opinion, Randy is the only speaker in the Churches of Christ I'd walk across the street to hear for anything other than a relational reason. He's funny, personable, brave, and he knows the text. So, he's not just up there doing a puff piece; he's actually got substance. But he also keeps his focus and doesn't give us so much information that we forget it all the moment he stops speaking. Further, you get the sense that he's not asking you to do anything he's not willing to do himself. So, thumbs up on Randy Harris (not that he needs my approval).
I was even more fortunate in that I went with my good friend Hal Runkel who actually knows Randy. Having heard Randy speak on a few occasions, it was great to finally meet him.
When he found out some of the things I do and the kinds of churches I often do them for, he brought up an interesting question that I'd like to bat around here for the next few days. He said that the statistics show how church attendance across the boards in America is flat or slightly declining, but megachurches are growing. There are two ways of looking at those numbers. Either megachurches are the only reason why the number isn't in a total freefall. Or megachurches are having a Wal-Mart effect, killing smaller churches, in which case they are, to use Randy's word, "corrosive".
I have my own thoughts and opinions, and I'll do my best to imitate the guys from Freakonomics later. For now, I'm interested in your take on megachurches. Are they "corrosive"? Are they helping? Let's try to remember to be nice during this discussion.