The larger the group, the less the individual involvement. That’s a long-established finding of social science. So what does that mean for very large churches? New research has shown that those who attend megachurches are less involved in their congregation than those who attend smaller churches. That may be obvious, but the researcher then raises a disturbing question: Has the rise of the megachurch thus contributed to the overall decline of religion in the United States?
I am not attacking big churches. It’s natural for a congregation to want to become as big as possible, and many large congregations are quite orthodox. But churches need to face up to this data. Are there other unintended consequences of megachurches? Is there a way to counter them? How might a big congregation increase individual involvement? Or should big churches split into smaller congregations, once they reach a particular size?