The Walmart Factor for Churches

I like this guy. He consistently faciliates good disucussions. Read on if you are interested in church growth.

By Todd Hertz
Here’s one that will get you thinking. I live in the midwest. Typical small town. I remember years back when Walmart came to town. It’s a battle that has taken place in communities all over the country. Small local merchants tremble. How will we be able to compete? I’ve recently watched with interest in my small town when the new, improved SUPERWalmart opened (they tore the old one down). Now, in our town, we can purchase FOOD at our Walmart as well. This made the local grocery store chain across the street change the way they do business. They remodeled their store. The spent a ton of money on advertising telling everyone in our town that they’ve lowered their prices on thousands of items. We want your business, they said. And it almost came across at times as begging… please don’t go there, please keep shopping here. The end result in our community is that we now have two stores, and lower grocery prices.

Well, yesterday I was reading over at Don Chapman’s Worship Ideas blog; and he asks what will happen if the Walmart Factor ever hits your small town. Of course, he’s talking about the multi-site movement that is finding more and more larger megachurches branching out and opening new locations all over the place. How will your church respond when and if it happens in your town? Don asks…

What will happen if [or when] Rick Warren [Todd’s insert… RW probably isn’t a good example for MMI readers! Let’s say Ed Young instead!] plants a church in your town? Suddenly, I’ll bet the battles over the color of your carpet, or whether you do enough hymns will matter that much in the face of fierce competition by a megachurch on the move.

Which church do you think your average visitor would rather go to: a church that allows off-pitch Aunt Sally to sing solos, or a mega church with standards? [By the way, you don’t have to be a megachurch to have standards.]

In other words, churches, get over your dumb, ingrown habits and start getting serious about your mission. Or you’re going to go out of business.

I think Don has a point… the status quo for churches in your community may be changing. I know that Don’s remarks will probably spark alot of controversy… but before you start tapping on your comment keys, consider what he’s saying. He’s saying (not to put words in his mouth) that competition may be coming to your area. My thought is… is that such a bad thing? If more people are coming to Christ in your community, is that a bad thing? If another church moves in across town and causes your church (and others) to make changes so that your communities’churches are more effective; aren’t there really two (or more) more effective churches in your community rather than one that isn’t effective?

Isn’t that ultimately great for the Kingdom?

What are your thoughts…?



  1. Carolanne says:

    I’d never thought of it like that. Perhaps we shouldn’t sit around waiting for the megachurch to challenge us – perhaps we should be all that we can be and do for God now.
    Perhaps I shouldn’t feel threatened by maybe someone new “coming to town”, perhaps I should do my best for God now.
    Hmmmmmm. Thoughts to ponder but will I take any action. (I am a procrastinator, you know!)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Romans 12:2 is all I can say.

  3. Carolanne, the ever faithful friend, hope you and the family are well.
    Things are busy but good here.

    I have resolved to blog more consistently … after I get back into town. I’m a procastinator too.

    See you around.

  4. Hello Anonymous,

    “Anonymous said…

    Romans 12:2 is all I can say.”

    Well I wish you would have said more because this passage gives us many important principles that we live by but this passage is also easily abused.

    I may not be the biggest fan of the mega-church model but I am not sure whose to blame in the article. Todd is making the point that smaller and mid-size churches work harder when a mega-church is being built. That’s not right in the Kingdom, and it’s not the fault of the mega-church. (some have other issues I take exception with). But they have been used (just like Balaam’s ass some will insert) in many ways.

    Seeking the kingdom.

  5. Anonymous says:

    i’m sorry i guess i should’ve said more. what i meant when i gave taht passage is that these churches are more catering to the world rather than what Christ really meant a church to be. churches ‘competing’ for souls? uhh there’s something not quite right to that. churches changing their doctrines so they can cater more to the needs of their public? 1 Tim 3:15. if the church is the pillar and base of truth what kind of ‘truth’ is it portraying. why does “truth” have to change itself just so it can ‘appeal’ to the public. i guess what i’m trying to say is that it’s not wrong to bring people closer to Christ just do it the right way and not loose your dignity and doctrine along the way. if one truly love Christ as Christ loves them they would be willing to give their life and will to what God wants and the other way around (applying what you want to what God wants) thats the trend i’m seeing with teh churches, they don’t like something because it doesn’t quite fit to their belief so they split and form their own church. do you really think God’s will is to have 10,000+ denominations of the base and pillar of truth? thats a lot of “truths” my friend.

  6. Are you not back in town yet, Jack?
    Of course I’m loyal and faithful friend – how else am I gonna keep you in line!
    All our family is well – Nathan’s basketball grandfinal is tomorrow – he’s so excited!

  7. Hello Anonymous,
    Sorry it has taken me a week to reply.

    I too am frustrated with the many denominations but I also like that new churches have emerged to take over for the failing and irrelevant ones as well. I am also grateful for the pastors/leaders who have taken over in many churches that are struggling and trying to breathe new life in them.

    But that’s not really your point. I too gladly agree that you cannot compromise doctrine to fill the seats (or pews if your old-school like us). But this is where I think we may have a difference in perception. And I am not saying that you are saying this, but I know people in my church that perceive being relevant to a newer generation is a change of doctrine when it isn’t. Instead it’s a change of methodology. Again, I am not saying that is what you are saying, but that’s an issue to some.

    It was nice to talk to you, stop by anytime. Enjoying the discussion.

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