by Warren Bird
A disproportionate amount of media coverage goes to megachurches — those congregations that draw 2,000 or more adults and children weekly. But what about those churches are slightly less large — from 500 up? New research profiles those churches, a largely understudied group, but one that represents about 40% of Protestant churchgoers.
The free report has just been released at this link. Written by megachurch scholar Scott Thumma, Ph.D. (and I served as co-researcher on the project), it includes these significant findings about churches in the 500-1,799 attendance range:
- Just over two thirds of the weekly attenders are under age 50
- Over a third of these churches are multiracial
- Multisite churches are growing at a far faster rate than single-site churches
- Seemingly less importance is placed on denominational connections with an intentional migration out of denominations
- At least three-quarters report the use of small groups as central to their spiritual formation strategy
- Nearly 7 out of 10 churches are under the leadership of the senior pastor under whose tenure the most dramatic growth occurred
- Nearly 7 out of 10 offer a formal internship program
Please take a look and give us your thoughts. What most surprises you in the findings? If you’d like to see other research on large churches, check out all the free downloads at www.leadnet.org/megachurch.