The Seven-Day-A-Week Church by Lyle E. Schaller

By Lyle E. Schaller

With awesome perception and fascinating description, Schaller unearths the explanations in the back of the global emergence of Seven-Days-a-Week "megachurches," that are prone to be inclusive and pluralistic whereas small church buildings usually tend to be homogeneous and unique. Over 1000000 copies of books written or edited by means of Schaller are actually in print.

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As a result of these and other trends, the seven-day-a-week program church came on the scene to fill the vacuum left by the disappearance of the large Sunday morning churches. The new agendas of the liberal theology of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s did and do have a strong appeal to a large number of Americans, but most of them are not churchgoers. The evangelicals, moderates, and conservatives have moved in to reach and serve (1) the successors to those who were comfortable with the liberal theological agenda of the 1950s but are not attracted by either of the two newest agendas of the liberals, (2) that theologically more conservative generation born in the 1956-68 era, (3) the churchgoers of the 1950s who, as they grow older, seek a church with an agenda similar to what attracted them in the 1950s, and (4) people of all ages and various backgrounds who want more from their church than simply that Sunday morning schedule.

This new goal of changing the world was reinforced in the late 1960s as liberation theology moved on to the theological agendas of liberal Protestants. More recently, as Professor McFague points out, the newest shift has been to link together the fate of the oppressed and the fate of the planet. Social justice, peace, ecology, and the environment now dominate the agenda of liberal American Protestantism. The agenda has shifted from nurturing those on a faith journey to changing the world to saving the planet.

This shrinkage in the number of big mainline Protestant Sunday morning churches was especially visible in California, the Great Plains, the Northeast, and the Midwest. In 1988, for example, the number of United Methodist congregations reporting a thousand or more members in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin totaled 195, down from 461 in 1965. What Happened? As a result of these and other trends, the seven-day-a-week program church came on the scene to fill the vacuum left by the disappearance of the large Sunday morning churches.

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