Lakewood Still The Biggest Church, If You Believe Porno Magazine
The results are in -- not from Outreach itself, which charges for the info, but from a Christian Post news report on the findings -- and the news is good and bad for our very own Lakewood Church and star Joel Osteen.
The good: the church is once again listed as the biggest in the nation. The bad:
Attendance dropped, from 47,000 weekly attendants a year ago to 43,500 this year.
Boy, when those Continental Air Lines flight attendants start boycotting....
All this should be taken with a grain of salt. A lot of churches report numbers like "7,000," which seems a tad casual.
And then there's this, from the megachurch Mecklenburg Community in Charlotte, North Carolina, who said he surprised a staffer by admitting he had declined to answer Outreach's survey:
I found myself stumbling for the way to respond, but then it came out: “It just didn’t feel…clean.” There. I had finally said it, though I had felt it for a long time. The listing seemed dirty, competitive, dark…yes, for me, even sinful. Let me hasten to say “for me.” The darkness is entirely mine – my own long battle with competition, my own hot and cold embrace of a kingdom mindset, my constant temptation toward schadenfreude over the demise of others, all along with a good dose of ongoing pride. I had crowed about our own numbers too many times in the past in ways that did not honor God, but only honored me, and felt palpable shame. Like a man who battles lust finally giving in and openly poring over pornography on the internet or entering into an affair, for me to submit our numbers would feel like giving in openly to one of the more important spiritual battles in my life.
Outreach magazine -- it's porno for pastors!!
-- Richard Connelly