Jump directly to the Content

We Can't Do Megachurch Anymore

What happens when an "attractional church" is compelled to go in a different direction?
One day a preacher said to a friend, "We have just had the greatest revival our church has experienced in many years."
"How many did you add to your church membership?"
"None. We lost five hundred." —Brennan Manning,The Ragamuffin Gospel

When I considered the possibility of moving from Bellingham, Washington, to Tulsa, Oklahoma, the question wasn't just why I would exchange Mount Baker for oil country. I'd come to a fork in the road.

Was it time to plant an emerging type church? Or could I help an existing modern-ish church position itself for ministering to the next generation by developing some emerging sensibilities?

Rather than giving up on existing churches, which is what the prospect of church planting felt like to me, I wanted to believe that an existing church could make the transition. So I came to Garnett Church of Christ and set the transition in motion.

The results have been astounding.

850 members in 2003.

550 members in 2006.

Everyone told me that church planting would be hard, ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

July/August
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
The Hansen Report: Where Are You From?
The Hansen Report: Where Are You From?
Can you shepherd a flock that won't stay put?
From the Magazine
Learning to Love Our Neighbor’s Fears
Learning to Love Our Neighbor’s Fears
We aren’t all equally afraid of the same things. But Scripture’s wisdom can apply to all of us.
Editor's Pick
When Churches Put Love at the Center
When Churches Put Love at the Center
How "beloved community" helps us envision tangible ways to embody kingdom values.
close