Dave Travis on Megachurch Myths
Date: August 29th, 2011

Since the early 1980s, the nmber of megachurches –defined as churches with weekly attendance exceeding 2,000 congregants — have increasingly grown in number and scope.  From the casual glance of an outside observer, these churches often appear to be highly impersonal and spiritually shallow, prefering theatrics to theology.  Dave Travis, the managing director of The Leadership Network and co-author of Beyond Megachurch Myths, explores these impressions and several other stereotypes surrounding megachurches.  We cover the variation in size, demographic composition, and theological orientation of these churches and continue our discussion by examining the different organizational emphases one sees in these organizations.  Our conversation also drifts to the denominational affiliation (or lack thereof) of megachurches and we think about whether denominationalism is a relevant concept in the contemporary world.  Dave also reveals different ways that these large churches make themselves “smaller” with the use of small groups.  Indeed, much of the spiritual growth that members of these churches experience often occurs outside the typical Sunday service.  Dave’s research has also shown that many members of megachurches do feel they are getting a serious dose of theology.  We speculate on the future of megachurches, particularly those led by charismatic and well-recognized figures such as Rick Warren and Mark Driscoll.  What will happen when these figures pass from the scene?  How do megachurches deal with the issue of pastoral succession?  At the end of the interview, Dave discusses his role at The Leadership Network and tells Tony there is nothing he can do to help the Seattle Seahawks.  Recorded: August 12, 2011.


Dave Travis’s profile at the Leadership Network.

Beyond Megachurch Myths, by Scott Thumma & Dave Travis.

Not Who You Think They Are: The Real Story of People Who Attend America’s Megachurches,” by Scott Thumma and Warren Bird.

Reinventing American Protestantism, by Donald E. Miller.


Marc von der Ruhr on Megachurch Recruitment and Retention.

Mark Driscoll on the Growth of Mars Hill Church.

Gordon Melton on Mega-Trends in American Religion.


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