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09 November 2011

Megachurches in the Niche

I was reading this great article from the Huffington Post, and it got me thinking. Megachurches get mega by coalescing around a charismatic figure. (This is likely related to why most of them are Charismatic in worship style.) Denominations are bureaucratic, having long lost their foundational charismatic figure(s). (Read Weber.) Are megachurches all doomed to this fate as their leaders die? Will each megachurch either become a bureaucratized denomination or simply disappear? This is what comes to mind as leadership start talking "succession plan."

It seems that the growth (and future demise) of the megachurch phenomenon is best understood in terms of the religious economies theory (i.e. supply-side argument) in that it's all about population growth and not changes in the demand for religion. In other words, it's not so much that megachurches have tapped into some new revival as much as they are simply filling an organizational gap in under-served suburban regions.

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