Between 2 million and 5 million Americans attend a "megachurch" each week, according to ABCNews.com. And that number is expected to increase. "They're still growing very quickly, and there's a lot of them that are springing up," says Brad Smith of the Large Church Network tells the news organization. There's the regular overview of today's seriously huge church: the climbing walls, the coffee shops, the movie theaters, the roller rinks, the auto repair clinics, the poetry workshops, the fancy music … And the worship part gets attention, too. "Experts … insist that most do a good job of putting faith before entertainment," ABCNews' Oliver Libaw reports. "Others are not so sure." The main critique is not over theology, but over attendance. Columbia University's Randall Balmer likens such congregations to a giant chain store (or did he actually use the word Wal-Mart?) "that comes into a town and puts all the little stores out of business."
Meanwhile, the congregation most associated with the term megachurch, Willow Creek Community Church, is getting so big it's planning on spawning satellites. For years, there have been churches both in Willow Creek's back yardand around the world that have associated themselves with Willow Creek either officially or unofficially. But this is no association, and it ain't no traditional church plant—this is a satellite church in almost every sense of the word (okay, so it's not actually orbiting in space, but I said almost every sense). "In a dozen sites across the Chicago area," reports the Chicago Tribune, "Willow Creek hopes to build, rent or remodel auditorium spaces where a pastor, musicians and a congregation can gather for a mix of in-house ...1