The unveiling of this 72 foot tall statue in Memphis (NY Times) seems as good as time as any to make an update on the state of the U.S. Megachurch. According to this fantastic 2005 summary by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, the number of megachurches (defined as having a weekly attendance of at least 2,000 people) has doubled in the last five years to around 1,200 across the country. The average attendance for a megachurch is about 3,500 people and are mostly concentrated in four states: California (14%), Texas (13%), Florida (7%) and Georgia (6%). Interestingly, 83% of churches said that they have grown under the leadership of a single pastor (typically 50 years old and well-educated) with a average staff of 35 people who serve 30 to 40 hours a week as volunteer leaders.
And of course, a few of these churches are building colossal monuments like this one as a major attraction:
Probably most importantly, is to note the Eleven Misconceptions at the end of the summary article, most notably that these congregations have high spiritual expectations and that these churches grow simply because "excited attendees tell their friends." This can all be wrapped up by this King of the Hill episode clip on Megachurches:
Props to Church Marketing Sucks
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Thursday, July 06, 2006
Posted by Stan Chin at 7/06/2006 08:43:00 PM