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10 Megachurch Myths

It’s easy to take shots at large churches.

Just say “mega” and there can be instant dismissal.

And it’s very true that big isn’t always better, notoriety doesn’t always mean noteworthy, “can’t argue with success” isn’t the same as “know them by their fruit,” famous doesn’t always mean faithful, and starting fast doesn’t always mean finishing well.

But I am convinced that any church, of any size, can be learned from, and that includes large churches.

In fact, the most common critiques of large churches actually reveal 10 of their more significant lessons.

1. Large churches don’t understand the challenge that comes with being small.

Their insights are thus atypical and not transferable to the average church.

The truth is, that most large churches started small, often as church plants, and grew through multiple stages on their way to large-church status. As a result, they have the most gathered wisdom for helping smaller churches break through the traditional growth barriers of 70, 120, 200, 500, 1200 and more.

No one can help you break through those barriers more than a church that has actually done it.

2. Large churches are so fixated on outreach, they have dropped the ball on discipleship.

Most large churches are very concerned with discipleship. They are not just into “numbers” or growth, but spiritual formation.

In many ways, they have been forced to tackle this area with great diligence. They have so many new attendees from such varied backgrounds that they have been forced to be highly intentional about strategic discipleship classes, mentoring programs, Bible studies and “next steps” processes.

As a result, their discipleship offerings are often among the best.

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James Emery White is the founding and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, NC, and the ranked adjunct professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His newest book, Christianity for People Who Aren’t Christians: Uncommon Answers to Common Questions, is now available on Amazon or at your favorite bookseller. To enjoy a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, visit ChurchAndCulture.org, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.