Tuesday, August 01, 2006

PBS Cover Story: Megachurches in Chicago

BOB ABERNETHY anchor: A special report today -- an update on megachurches, the huge evangelical, often nondenominational, Protestant places of worship with 2,000 or more members. Their numbers have doubled in the last five years from 600 to 1,200 nationwide. And now, more and more, a single church may become a megachurch by having branches at several locations. Judy Valente reports.

UNIDENTIFIED PASTOR #1: I want you to shout out as we begin to worship our God today.

JUDY VALENTE: Willow Creek Community Church outside Chicago -- the stereotypical megachurch, one of the oldest and best known. Twenty-thousand people attend the various services each week.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: Good morning, New Life Community Church.

VALENTE: Some 20 miles away, in Chicago, New Life Community Church. This congregation itself is small, but it's only one of several worship sites that New Life has around the city. Total membership is 2,500.

ReverPhoto of Palmieriend JOHN PALMIERI (Pastor, New Life Community Church):

There'll be churches that are struggling, going through difficulty, the doors are almost ready to close, and they'll touch bases with us -- this has happened in the past -- and say, "Hey, can you do ministry here?"

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