Dr. R. Albert Mohler commented during a forum this week that people are growing less and less interested in the “big box church” experience from megachurches. He compared the megachurch to America’s shopping malls, saying their “Field of Dreams” vision — “if you build it, they will come” — is no longer as appropriate for today’s churchgoer. People are instead visiting churches because of personal invitation, not because of curiosity over a large campus experience.
The Christian Post reported on the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary forum where Mohler made his comments, thoughts which were shared at the forum by Dr. Ronnie Floyd, senior pastor of Cross Church in Arkansas. Floyd agreed, “It’s no longer about maintaining the place; it’s about going on mission with God. … The ‘come and see,’ the ‘come and experience’ moment — that’s just changed. People are drawn to fellowships that are on mission, how can we go on mission.”
Mohler said these facts don’t mean that the megachurch is going anywhere any time soon, but he’s observing these churches now changing to megasite models, creating smaller church communities in more places rather than gathering everyone in one place.
Leadership Network reports there are more than 2,000 megachurches in the U.S., representing only about one-half of one percent of Protestant churches, yet welcoming nearly 10 percent of churchgoers. There are over 5,000 churches with more than one location, up from 200 ten years ago.