The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Congregations: They come in all sizes

But it's not as simple as tall, grande and venti

One glance around your community proves it: congregations come in all shapes and sizes.

The Lutheran landscape might look different from what many of us grew up with, but the word is still being proclaimed and the sacraments administered. An obvious change in that landscape is that for many, word and sacrament are being shared on a church “campus” and by a cadre of staff.

michael d. watson“Since the 1970s we’ve seen an increase in megachurches­ — very large churches," said Mark Chaves, professor of sociology, religion and divinity at Duke University, Durham, N.C. “And that includes the ELCA. Most churches are small, but most church members are part of large congregations. ... People are increasingly concentrating in the very largest churches.”

In the ELCA that trend peaked in 2002 and has since dropped, according to ELCA Research and Evaluation.

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February issue


Embracing diversity