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Scenario 1 - The Multichurch

At a Glance
  • By 2020, the growing edge of American Christianity is young and predominantly ethnic.
  • Hispanic and Asian pastors lead one-third of American megachurches.
  • Evangelicalism has embraced public activism over faith-based influence on politics.

The Multichurch Letter

I’m Rev. Luis Sanchez, senior pastor of Rivercrest Church in Phoenix,AZ. For me, and millions of immigrants, the most significant development of 2011-2020 was the emergence of the multichurch. Today, 30% of all megachurches are led by Hispanic and Asian pastors. By 2030, that number could rise to 51%. As ethnic evangelicals, we reversed flatline growth of megachurches and created culturally relevant multichurches to serve both fast-growing immigrant communities and aging Anglos.

A decade ago experts wrote about the ‘coming Evangelical collapse’ and the demise of the megachurch. As it turned out, the decline was only within a spectrum of suburban white Christianity. What the postmodern and worship wars overlooked in 2010 was the rise of what Soong-Chan Rah called the ‘next evangelicalism.’ The shift from mega to multi was first noticed as mid-40s Hispanics came into leadership in historic megachurches in big cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and Ft. Lauderdale. Our movement exploded as 2nd generation Hispanics and Asians, such as myself, discovered we could combine highly efficient methods and relational ministry for our own communities.

Thanks to the multichurch, the growing edge of American Christianity in 2020 is young and largely ethnic, whether Hispanic, African American, or Asian American. This demographic shift is clearly evident in the workplace. Since 2010 the minority portion of the working age population has increased from 28% to 37%, while the white portion declined from 72% to 63%. Just as Anglo-families of the 1990s created megachurches, the ethnic families of the 2010’s formed multichurches for spiritual formation, youth ministry, and elder care.

The multichurch enabled evangelicals to finally reconcile the personal gospel of Billy Graham with the public activism of Martin Luther King Jr. While we still face a host of new challenges to righteousness, from same-sex marriage to genetic enhancement, long gone are the heady days of faith-based influence on politics. Today we must work humbly with Mormons and Catholics to advance smart family issues.

Gary, J. (2010, January). The post-church letters: Voices from 2020. Church Executive Magazine.


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