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Against Evangelical Minimalism

June 15th, 2020 | 9 min read

By Matthew Stokes

For all the criticism of evangelical opulence – it’s palatial megachurches and crass prosperity gospel – the truth is that most evangelical churches remain humble and relatively small. One 2017 analysis of Lifeway data showed that the overwhelming majority of churches in the Southern Baptist Convention reported less than 250 in average weekly attendance. The average evangelical church is still solidly middle class, and given the effects of the Big Sort upon middle class life, it’s fair to wonder how much of that middle class is still aspirant. Not only are most of their churches modest, so are their incomes. As evangelicals have moved into the middle class, they have struggled to know what they should do with their money, as witnessed by the popularity of financial self-help gurus like Larry Burkett and Dave Ramsey.

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