Multiplication Center

Churches with Attendance of 500-1,799 Represent 40% of Protestant Churchgoers

January 11, 2016

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


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