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Current Events, Current Events, Ministry Briefing, Trends
See this story and others in this week’s edition of Ministry Briefing A new report by Dr. Warren Bird at Leadership Network found North American megachurches are scaling down their sizes and thinking in smaller units. Seating in megachurches is averaging around 1,200 seats rather than the average of 1,500 from five years ago. In addition, 79% of megachurches invest significant time in small groups. Dr. Bird writes:
If you say the word megachurch, most people think of a gigantic sanctuary like the 16,000-seat former stadium of the Houston Rockets, that hosts Lakewood Church, led by Joel Osteen. On the one hand, every year sees an increase in the number of large-attendance churches. And the average total worship attendance at all campuses is also on the increase.
Read the full article by clicking here.  Why does this matter:
  • How is the multi-site church impacting your community/church?
  • Does your church focus on small groups or how does it cultivate relationships among members?
  • What can your church do to grow, regardless of current size?
Find this story interesting?  It’s just one of 50 top stories great leaders are reading about this week in Ministry Briefing!
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It’s that time again folks… time for my friend Matt Steen and myself to dive into the world of what’s happening in the church and give you our weekly wrap-up of all-things churchy:

Hit or Miss

Jack Schaap faces 10 years after plea deal (0:26) Pastors are Hurting (2:45) Robert A. Schuller defaults on Home (6:22) That he is renting out for retreats… (June 2012) (9:26) It Has to Stop (11:06) Joel Osteen on Homosexuality (13:20) Is This a Social Statement? (20:02) Split Congregation Locks Some Members Out (22:55) Less Than 20% of Church Goers Read their Bible Daily (26:55) Church Abuse Scandal in Tulsa (29:42)


Is Your Cell Phone Making You a Jerk? (33:30) How Your Cell Phone Hurts Your Relationships (33:30) Smartphones and Relationships, or My Eyes are Up Here (33:30) Updated Trends on Megachurches (38:28) Do Mega-Churches Hurt the Poor? (43:34)

In Our Heads

Ministering to Sex Offenders, from a protected conversation within the GCM Collective (51:08) This weekend at the church down the street (53:30)

In Texas, there is a demonstration at the state capitol today.  They’re demanding that their state leaders begin taxing megachurches in the state in order to help local schools.  The project is headed by the state’s American Atheists.  Their director, Joe Zamecki, has released a statement stating why he thinks this is a good thing.  Read it, and see if he makes his point: Public education in Texas is in a financial crisis. This year’s state legislature is about to slash spending on education, to include the laying off of possibly hundreds of teachers, and the closing of public schools all over the state. Apparently the state budget is short this year, by billions of dollars. Right now, parents, students, teachers and others are rallying around their schools, and speaking out about the very real need to keep the teachers and schools we have now, as one of our state’s top priorities. Meanwhile mega-churches and televangelists in Texas are doing very well. So the recurring theme of church taxation is in the air again, although it’s still a somewhat shocking idea to most people. Not so shocking as in the past. Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church alone is doing famously well, operating in the physically largest church building in the USA, tax-free. Like so many Texas mega-churches, Joel and his church have the ease of marketing that some corporations have, so we feel that they and other successful mega-churches could help with public education too. We’ve proposed just a 1% tax on profits taken in by just the top 1% of the most profitable mega-churches and televangelists in Texas. They can easily afford it. Not the small, poor churches we hear about so much. This is not an idea to harm or hinder any churches in their operations. We feel that giving churches blanket tax-exempt status is giving them a special privilege. The overwhelming financial success of some of those churches has some economists standing in awe. The idea isn’t new, and it isn’t going away, as long as Texas’ children have a grossly inferior system of education, a financial balance like this is needed. Studies show that our state is lagging behind in education very badly, and knowing that the current legislature with the Texas governor are working hard together, it’s clear that spending cuts will happen before any tax increases or new taxes are implemented. So without that normal financial balance, Texans are considering alternatives. This is one idea for an alternative that could solve the issue of insufficient tax funds. As unusual and unpopular as this type of idea is, it just needs to be said again, loudly. And for those who feel that a church tax would invite churches and religious activists into the public schools, the legislature, and other areas of secular government existence: too late. They’re already well established in those institutions, which is one reason why we have a state/church separation movement. They just need to pay their admission fee, finally. It would really help the people of Texas. So… they don’t want to tax the ‘small, poor churches’ just those that large churches that need to ‘pay their admission fee’. No word on how they would decide which churches are poor and which ones are rich. They’ve vowed to protest every weekday outside the Texas capitol until lawmakers take action. What[box type=”info”]What do YOU think? Should churches be taxed? Why or why not? And regardless of your answer to that question… do you think laws will ever be changed to require churches to pay taxes?[/box] Todd More information here…

Current Events
My friend, Brad Lomenick, made an interesting prediction on his blog this morning.  Brad predicts that in 2010 a major merger will happen between two large successful megachurches, and usher in a new trend of collaboration and partnership… That’s a great prediction.  Do you think it would/could happen? If it did, would it be a good thing? And if it did, what two megachurches would you like to see merge? Todd