A new Leadership Network report released today, by Scott Thumma and Warren Bird — Changes in American Megachurches: Tracing Eight Years of Growth and Innovation in the Nation’s Largest-attendance Congregations. Hot off the presses (what’s the digital equivalent for that anachronism?)
Megachurches – Protestant congregations that draw 2,000 or more adults and children in a typical weekend (attendance not membership) – show considerable consistency over the past eight years.
They continue to:
• Grow in size,
• Lead the way as America’s most multi-ethnic class of church,
• Show a strong bias toward contemporary worship, and
• Remain minimally involved in politics.
However, they also are institutions in transition. They are now:
• Offering more worship services and expanding to multiple-locations,
• Shifting to playing a greater role in community service,
• Decreasing their use of radio and television, and
• Putting greater emphasis on the role of small groups.
These are some of the most salient findings of a national study of America’s roughly 1,200 megachurches with approximately one third returning a usable response to an eight-page, 150-question survey that was fielded between February and August, 2008, with comparison given to similar (but non-longitudinal) national studies in 2000 and 2005.
The report features 19 graphics such as the one above. It’s a free download. Would love your feedback. Maybe concerns over attendance at megachurches stalling are reactions to isolated incidents and not generally characteristic.
— DJ Chuang, Director at Leadership Network