Study shows the growth and format of megachurches

 

There are 1,210 Protestant churches in the United States with weekly attendance over 2,000, nearly double the number that existed 5 years ago.

  • Sixteen megachurches had attendance over 2,000 by 1960 with the highest being 5,762.

Physical Characteristics of Megachurches

  • The megachurches surveyed reported a 2005 average regular weekly attendance of 3,585 persons.
  • Only 16% have 5,000 or more in attendance each week.
  • The median seating capacity of the largest worship service was 1,400.
  • At least 50% of churches use multiple venues for worship as well as satellite locations to increase seating capacity.

The four states with the greatest concentrations of megachurches are California (14%), Texas (13%), Florida (7%) and Georgia (6%)

 

The groups with the largest numbers of megachurches in our survey sample included nondenominational (36%), Southern Baptist (20%), United Methodist (9%), and Assemblies of God (5%) 

  • Nearly all (97%) megachurches hold multiple worship services, with 5% holding 9 or more each weekend.
  • When asked to describe the theological identity of the congregation, the majority of churches chose Evangelical (56%).
  • When asked to characterize their congregational identity, 70% strongly agreed that their church had a clear mission and purpose, another 65% strongly agreed the church was spiritually vital and alive, and over 50% strongly agreed that the church welcomed innovation and change and was willing to change to meet new challenges.
  • On average 19% of persons in the congregations were of the non-majority racial group. 

88% of megachurchs participate in personal scripture study

  • Personal prayer, meditation or devotions - 86%
  • Tithing or sacrificial giving - 78%

Activities such as study and discussion groups (79%), religious education (71%), and prayer and faith sharing groups (66%) scored the highest percentages as key functions within megachurches.

For 83% of churches in this survey the dramatic growth of the church occurred during the tenure of this current pastor.

  • The median year this person became senior pastor was 1992, with 33% beginning their ministry at the church prior to 1989 with 35% beginning their tenure since 1995.
  • The average age of the senior pastors in this study is 50 years
  •  Eighty-nine percent are Caucasian, 8% are African American and 1% Hispanic, 1% Asian and 1% Multiracial in terms of their racial and ethnic background. These pastors are generally well educated with 92% having a college degree or higher; 35% had obtained a doctoral degree.

 

Read Megachurch Summary 2005 

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