4 Megachurch Streams

In their 2007 book, Beyond Megachurch Myths, Thumma & Travis develop four streams of megachurches to help categorize the distinct types of churches within the megachurch movement. The four streams follow:

Old Line/Program-Based (i.e. First Baptist Church of Orlando)
Charismatic/Pastor-Focused (i.e. Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church)
Seeker (i.e. Willow Creek, Saddleback, Northpoint)
New Wave/Re-Envisioned (i.e. Mars Hill Church in Seattle)

On page 37, The Chapel (my church community & where I serve as managing pastor) was listed as an example of an “Old Line/Program-Based” church.

As with any systematized approach there is always overlap and needed caution of “pigeonholing,” however I feel this is an appropriate categorization of The Chapel based on the other streams & their descriptions.

Questions that arise from this notion:

Since these congregations tend to have the oldest founding dates among megachurches (like The Chapel), can a church with such heritage and tradition ever transition to another category if needed?

Being a church of mostly “churched” people (& some say catering to “churched people”), can our current model sustain growth within a growing population of “unchurched” communities?

What essentials must be protected from our current model? What negotiables must be terminated? What keys from other models must be examined & implemented with proper contextualization?


~ by Dave Smith on November 24, 2007.

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