September 20, 2008
Survey Finds Megachurches Can Be Friendly
A Baylor University study finds that very large churches in the United States are in some ways friendlier and more intimate than smaller ones.
Byron Johnson, director of the Institute for Study of Religion at the Texas university, told the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram that mega churches provide opportunities for members to get together in small groups."People get to know each other in very close ways," Johnson said. "They can share their imperfections and struggles, and people are checking in on you and praying for you. ... Many have single parents' groups on how to handle finances, on English as a second language. Here's the church saying, 'We care about this part of your life. ... We aren't here to condemn but to help.'"
Baylor began a regular series of surveys conducted by the Gallup Organization in 2005. They are to be done every two years with the last one released in 2018.
The most recent survey also found that regular churchgoers are less likely to believe in UFOs, Big Foot, the Loch Ness monster and similar phenomena.
Gallup surveyed 1,648 English-speaking adults for the most recent poll.