I thought I might write about the nature of the church for the text couple of weeks. My thoughts stem from two sources. The first was a survey by Baylor University and published in the Waco Tribune-Herald. The Second was a conversation with Don Scott our District Superintendent. The article and conversation deal with the modern nature of the church and religious beliefs. Both the conversation and article stem from a comparison of mega churches (1000 + in worship) and small churches (not mega). However I would throw in a third: The middle sized church. The middle sized church is either moving up towards the larger church or down to the smaller.
Please note, one does not mean better or worse than the other. It just means different.
Let me begin with Don. He and I met and talked for hours the other day. It was great. We have been friends and colleagues for years. As we talked he pointed out that because of our programs, staff size, etc. we are not compared with the church down the street or even across town. We are compared with Rick Warren’s church Saddleback or even Joel Osteen’s church in Houston. People look for excellence and oportunity.
I found that to be interesting.
With that as a foundation let me turn to the Baylor survey. I won’t loft up all their stuff but there were some interesting items I thought I would lift up today. What I want you to do is just see where you stand in the survey.
Attend services weekly or more often Mega-church: 46% Small Church: 39%
Tithe Mega-church: 46% Small Church: 36%
Attend a Bible Study Mega-church: 52% Small Church: 43%
What does that mean? It means that the people in the larger church tends fo go more often, give better and even attend Sunday School or study the Bible more.
Like I said, I want you to compare yourself with those first three categories. How well do you measure up in attending church? I would add a third distinction. If you attend less than the small church percentage, you are probably in a different group: Unchurched.
How about your giving? Are you tithing? If not, you are below even the 36% in the small churches.
And do you study the word of God? If not, well maybe it’s time.
Next week I will talk about the closeness of the two different churches. It may surprise you as to which is the stronger.
Till then, Peace and Grace. Reed