website creator I heard a cool term the other day: GigaChurch. It’s a word for a church of 10,000 people or more. This guy claims to have coined the term in a Washington Post article.
As the article mentions, I too heard a few years ago that MegaChurches were on the decline, and would soon be replaced by smaller, more intimate churches from the emerging church movement.
But as everything seems to be fragmenting these days, so too has the church world fragmented. I don’t intend a negative connotation with “fragmentation” but a good one – fragmentation means we have a multitude of choices today. Read my article on fragmentation at WorshipIdeas. MegaChurches and GigaChurches are springing up all over, far from dead, but you can also attend a small group, a house church, a video venue or watch a service on the Internet.
Another thing I’ve noticed that the article mentions is that when a MegaChurch reaches 5,000, growth begins to speed up and it often morphs into a GigaChurch. I’ve seen this happen in two local MegaChurches. One of them had been hovering around 4,000-5,000 last year this time and shot up over 10,000 during the holidays. And Newspring has been on a steady growth curve for years and will soon be at the weekly 10,000 mark.
The author sees smaller, thriving, mission-minded churches under 600 people co-existing with the Mega and Gigachurches.
However, if your church just doesn’t care anymore or is wrapped up in political church drama it may not around much longer.
This so parallels the Wal-Mart effect in business that it isn’t funny. Dumb little stores that do dumb little things will get clobbered by Wal-Mart who will do most things smarter, cheaper and better.
You can’t compete with Wal-Mart if you’re cheap and boring. Why go to your local, boring grocery store when Super Wal-Mart has everything they do, only cheaper? But Whole Foods thrives because they offer what Wal-Mart’s grocery doesn’t: class, ambiance, wireless and yummy, gourmet food items. Have you ever taken home a meal from their hotbar? Wow!
Little churches can’t even begin to compete with the talent and programs of a MegaChurch, nor should they try. So what can they offer that the MegaChurch can’t?