As we just saw, of all the growth among all the various faith groups, including the infamous nones, research shows us that is it is actually the nondenominational churches that have seen the most explosive growth. There is no doubt about that. And we must also appreciate that it’s the very rare nondenominational church that is more liberal. Nearly all are generally faithful in teaching their congregants the traditional truths of Scripture, have meaningful and lively worship derived directly from biblical texts, and call its members to grow weekly in their life in Christ in practical and demonstrable ways and to serve the needs of the community around them. These are the heart of basic Christianity. Increasingly, evangelicalism is being made up of such churches since the early 1980s. They continue to grow, with many of them so large they are referred to as megachurches.
Mega is not an imprecise term. We all know what it means. Many have extremely large buildings and require multiple services on Saturday night and Sunday to serve all the attendees. Many require help from local police officers to direct traffic when their services let out. Others have been required to establish numerous campuses around the city to handle the crowds. Their doors are seldom locked as they have individuals coming in and out from dawn to well past dusk to take advantage of different programs and opportunities.
There is no other age of the church where the growth of so many churches in the United State and throughout the world has been true! Today is that exceptional time. Increasing numbers of such non-denominational churches are getting their starts in school gyms or large rooms at the local Y that host spin and Zumba classes during the week. Some even started in the founding pastor’s own living room as a small Bible study and grew from there. You no doubt have seen these populating your city. There’s a very good chance you’ve attended one. In terms of the growth of biblically faithful, spiritually vibrant, disciple-making Christianity, Chicken Little will find very little to squawk about here.
Add to this Pew’s finding that the percentage of the US population who describe themselves as “born-again” and/or “evangelical” increased by 1 percent from 2007 to 2014, at the very time the dire Chicken Little warnings were being most fearfully broadcast.1 One percent is not large, to be sure, but it is growth, particularly when it’s tracking ahead of population growth. It’s like a business growing 1 percent ahead of inflation. Nothing to party over, but it’s not nothing. This is especially significant because the growth occurred at a time when—because we are told so often by the more enlightened in major media—both of these identities had seriously negative public-approval ratings. Apparently an increasing group of people don’t feel that way. They are seeking and moving toward a faith that actually is rooted in truth and requires something of them. — Glenn T. Stanton, The Myth of the Dying Church: How Christianity Is Actually Thriving in America and the World (New York, NY: Worthy Books, 2019).