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by Warren Bird

The best way to learn about megachurches is to participate in a worship service in person, or perhaps online as many offer internet campuses. (Megachurches are congregations with weekly worship attendance of 2,000 and more including children.)

There are also a growing number of books about megachurches. To me the most inspiring, practical, and engaging reads are those about specific churches, which I list in the first cluster below. The good news is that there are LOTS of them, so that group is biggest. My bookshelf (pictured) is full of them. At the risk of leaving out some winners, some of my favorites include:


Profiles of Individual Churches or Pastors

More than Numbers by Paul Yonggi Cho
Growing the World’s Largest Church by Karen Hurston
Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren
Rediscovering Church: The Story of Willow Creek Community Church by Lynne and Bill Hybels
Confessions of a Pastor: Adventures in Dropping the Pose and Getting Real with God by Craig Groeschel
On-Purpose Leadership: Multiplying Your Ministry by Becoming a Leader of Leaders by Dale Galloway with Warren Bird
The Rise of Joel Osteen and Lakewood Church by Richard Young
The Journey of T.D. Jakes by Richard Young
Deep and Wide by Andy Stanley
The Blessed Life by Robert Morris
When God Builds a Church by Bob Russell
There’s a Miracle in Your House by Tommy Barnett
The Church that Never Sleeps by Matthew Barnett
The Old Church Downtown: An Incomplete History of The First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana edited by Jack Hyles
Jerry Falwell: His Life and Legacy by Macel Falwell
Goliath: The Life of Robert Schuller by James Penner
Exponential: How You and Your Friends Can Start a Missional Church Movement by Dave and Jon Ferguson (Community Christian Church)
Confessions of a Reformission Rev: Hard Lessons From an Emerging Missional Church by Mark Driscoll (Mars Hill Church)
Building a Healthy Multi-Ethnic Church: Mandate, Commitments and Practices of a Diverse Congregation by Mark Deymaz
Hybrid Church: The Fusion of Intimacy and Impact by Dave Browning (Christ the King Community Church)
Go BIG: Lead Your Church to Explosive Growth by Bill Easum and Bil Cornelius
Dangerous Church: Risking Everything to Reach Everyone by John Bishop (Living Hope Church)
Harvest: The Amazing Story of Calvary Chapel by Chuck Smith and Tal Brooke (Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa)
Vision Lost and Found: Story of a Church that Got Stuck but Didn’t Stay There, by Tim Stevens (Granger Community Church)

One of the earliest and most productive writers about growing churches in America is Elmer Towns. A number of his early books are out of print but are available as free downloads here. I mention several of his books in my blog on “World’s First Megachurch?”

Books about Growing to Very Large Sizes

Megachurches & American Cities: How Churches Grow by John N. Vaughn
How to Break Growth Barriers by Carl George with Warren Bird
Prepare Your Church for the Future by Carl George with Warren Bird
The Seven-Day-A-Week Church by Lyle E. Schaller
The Very Large Church: New Rules for Leaders by Lyle E. Schaller
Big Churches Getting Bigger by Tony Morgan and Ben Stroup (Kindle only)

Scholarly Books about Megachurches

Reinventing American Protestantism: Christianity in the New Millennium by Donald E. Miller.
Seeker Churches: Promoting Traditional Religion in a Nontraditional Way by Kimon H. Sargent
The Megachurches and the Mainline. Remaking Religious Tradition in the 21st Century by Stephen Ellington  
Black Megachurch Culture: Models for Education and Empowerment by Sandra L. Barnes
The Commercial Church: Black Churches and the New Religious Marketplace in America by Mary Hinton
Beyond Megachurch Myths: What We Can Learn From America’s Largest Churches by Scott Thumma and Dave Travis
From Meetinghouse to Megachurch: A Material and Cultural History by Anne C. Loveland and Otis B. Wheeler

Please use the “comments” function below to add books you think would be helpful.
Additional Fun Facts about Megachurches

For more blogs in this “megachurch” series, see also “World’s First Megachurch?”“Youngest Megachurch Pastor?” , “Megachurch Languages?”, “Largest Megachurch Sanctuaries” and “How Many Megachurches?” 




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Warren Bird

Author Warren Bird

Warren Bird, Ph.D. has been named a Leadership Network Senior Fellow in light of his exemplary service 2006-2018 as Director of Research and Intellectual Capital Development at Leadership Network. He serves as full-time VP of Research for ECFA.org (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability). An ordained minister with background as both a pastor and seminary professor, Warren is an award-winning author or co-author of 31 books for ministry leaders including Hero Maker with Dave Ferguson, How to Break Church Growth Barriers with Carl George, and Next: Pastoral Succession that Works with William Vanderbloemen. Other recent titles are Better Together: Making Church Mergers Work with Jim Tomberlin, and Wisdom from Lyle E. Schaller. Some of Warren’s recent online reports include "Leadership Network/Generis Multisite Church Scorecard," and "The Heartbeat of Rising Influence Churches." See also research reports at leadnet.org/megachurchleadnet.org/salary and leadnet.org/portable. He is widely recognized as one of the nation's leading researchers of megachurches, multisite churches, large church compensation and high-visibility pastoral succession. He also oversees the world's only active, sortable list of global megachurches. Follow him on Twitter @warrenbird.  Click here to subscribe to Leadership Network Advance to get updates from Leadership Network.

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