Beyond Megachurch Myths: What We Can Learn from America's Largest Churches

Overview

Praise for Beyond Megachurch Myths

"Crow is not my favorite dish to eat, but as this book points out, I've had to eat one of the myths so artfully debunked by Travis and Thumma. This book is the most definitive work done to date on the megachurch."
—Bill Easum, senior consultant, Easum, Bandy & Associates

"In this groundbreaking book, Scott Thumma and Dave Travis share their keen insight and unique understanding of the megachurch phenomena in one accessible volume. This book...

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Overview

Praise for Beyond Megachurch Myths

"Crow is not my favorite dish to eat, but as this book points out, I've had to eat one of the myths so artfully debunked by Travis and Thumma. This book is the most definitive work done to date on the megachurch."
—Bill Easum, senior consultant, Easum, Bandy & Associates

"In this groundbreaking book, Scott Thumma and Dave Travis share their keen insight and unique understanding of the megachurch phenomena in one accessible volume. This book is a significant addition to the literature and knowledge of megachurch studies."
—Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., senior director and missiologist, Center for Missional Research, North American Mission Board

"Megachurches are here to stay and will attract continuing interest. Thumma and Travis have done us all a great service by setting the record straight."
—Robert Wuthnow, Gerhard R. Andlinger Professor of Social Sciences and director, Center for the Study of Religion, Princeton University

"This is the most thorough, insightful, and helpful book ever written on megachurches."
—Mark Driscoll, pastor, Mars Hill Church, Seattle, Washington

"One of the major transformations in American Christianity is the emergence of hundreds of megachurches in the latter part of the twentieth century. This is the first book to be published that is based on close empirical research and yet is written in a manner that is easily understood by individuals attempting to assess this trend."
—Donald E. Miller, professor of religion and executive director of the Center for Religion and Civic Culture, University of Southern California

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This data-driven description of American megachurches is aimed at leaders and members of smaller congregations who may harbor apprehensions about this growing phenomenon. Chapter by chapter, the authors tackle common misconceptions of churches with more than 2,000 attendees and suggest that they are simply Christian neighbors with a different-looking storefront who are here to stay a while and who have much to offer smaller churches willing to learn. However, the collaboration of the two writers (one an academic and the other a consultant for church leadership) is disjointed, with the "applying what you have read" sections at the end of each chapter feeling tacked on to the richer content of the main text. One of the strongest chapters confronts the "myth" that megachurches are akin to Wal-Mart in that they grow at the expense of existing congregations. The authors argue that megachurches feed a constant cycle of "birth, growth, maturity and decline" needed to "help keep churches and religion in America strong and vital." Readers are reminded that Christianity comes in many different packages and that the market for religion can and should be tapped in a variety of ways. (Aug.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Megachurches, which have existed for some three decades in the United States, are today growing at a more rapid rate than the country's population. Their total membership would constitute America's third-largest religious group, and their worship practices and leadership styles have permeated the American church scene. Following a foreword by pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren, Thumma (sociology of religion, Hartford Seminary, CT; Gay Religion) and Travis (executive VP, Leadership Network; Beyond the Box: Innovative Churches That Work) build their arguments and insights on data culled from several academic studies of megachurches completed within the last decade. (The book's uniqueness is that it is research-based.) The authors do not completely describe the causes or implications of the megachurch phenomenon-for that, see Lyle E. Schaller's The Very Large Church: New Rules for Leadersand John N. Vaughan's Megachurches & America's Cities: How Churches Grow-but they present a convincing corrective to nine common misperceptions about them that have been accepted as gospel by the media, leaders of other churches, and segments of the American public. Recommended for academic libraries and public libraries with collections relating to contemporary churches.
—Nancy E. Adams

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787994679
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/10/2007
  • Series: Jossey-Bass Leadership Network Series , #21
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.15 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Dr. Scott Thumma is a researcher in the Hartford Institute for Religion Research and a faculty member of Hartford Seminary.

Dave Travis is the executive vice president of Leadership Network, the premier church networking organization for innovative churches. He is the author of Beyond the Box: Innovative Churches That Work.

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Table of Contents

About Leadership Network.

Foreword by Rick Warren.

Acknowledgments.

Introduction.

1. The Scale and Scope of Megachurches in America.

2. "All Megachurches Are Alike."

3. "That Church Is Just Too Big!"

4. "Megachurches Are Cults of Personality."

5. "These Churches Are Only Concerned About Themselves and the Needs of Their Attendees."

6. "Megachurches Water Down the Faith."

7. "These Churches Are Bad for Other Churches."

8. "These Churches Are Full of People of the Same Race, Class, and Political Preferences."

9. "Megachurches Grow Because of the Show."

10. "The Megachurch Movement Is Dying—Young People Hate These Churches."

11. What Might the Future Hold?

Appendix: Survey Data Details.

Notes.

Bibliography.

About the Authors

Index.

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