Basic Definition: A megachurch is any Protestant Christian congregation with a sustained average weekly attendance of 2000 persons or more in its worship services. The over 1200 Protestant megachurches in the United States share many other traits. Virtually all megachurches have a conservative Christian theology, a large number are nondenominational, most have an active small group ministry, and the majority have multiple services with a contemporary worship style.
The bottom line for the success of megachurches is they attract and retain more persons over time than do other churches.
How Do They Grow? It is not what megachurches “do” in terms of Evangelistic Programs and Outreach, that makes them grow. Megachurches grow because excited attendees tell their friends. Church structures and programs assist in promoting this excitement and responding to new people, but Programs DO NOT Create Growth!
They Evangelize Nearly all megachurches emphasis evangelism and recruitment activities
And Their Members Evangelize To what extent are your congregation’s members involved in recruiting new members?
Over 6000 attendees of Very Large churches were asked, Are you ready to talk about your faith?
And they were asked, Do you invite your friends and relatives?
Percent of congregations who did the following outreach efforts in the past 12 months. MEGA FACT Established or maintained a web site 96%57% Encouraged members to invite others to worship 94% 98% Encouraged members to tell others about faith 93%95% Sponsored a program or event to attract visitors 84%70% Mailed or distributed newsletters, letters, or flyers 77%69% Advertised on radio or TV or in a newspaper 75% 70% Developed a plan to recruit new embers 60%51% Contacted those who recently moved into area 41%48% And The Churches Do Many Other Things to Reach Out
Then They Follow Up On The Evangelism How are visitors contacted after they attend your worship services? MEGA FACT 7% We rarely, if ever, contact our visitors 7% 77% We contact our visitors by mail 66% 70% We contact our visitors by phone 52% 38% We contact our visitors by e-mail 19% 29% We contact our visitors by personal visit 49%
They have a strategy for getting people in the door BUT they excel at using intentional efforts to keep them in.
In the 2000 study: 96% strongly encourage new members to volunteer in the congregation’s ministries 76% require an informational class 32% assign a “mentor” to help incorporate new persons into the church They Try to Incorporate New Persons Into The Church
They Empower All the Members To develop their gifts & To become leaders Encouraged to discover and use your gifts here?
And include them in the direction – decisions of the Church 37% of attendees say they are often or occasionally involved in decision making Minister takes into account attendees’ ideas
They Offer Spiritual Worship and Spiritual Development of Attenders That Has Real Substance
And A Worship Service That Helps Attendees With Everyday Life
A Service That Is Marked By Contemporary, Exciting and Inspirational Worship
Worship And A Church Atmosphere That Creates Excitement About The Future
And In Turn, Members Who Want To Invite Others To what extent are your congregation’s members involved in recruiting new members?
All the characteristics mentioned are strongly correlated to increased rates of growth over 5 years No matter what the size of the church. But these characteristics are EVEN strongly related to the rate of growth over 5 years when looking just at the differences in the growth of the megachurches.
Not All The Megachurches Grew At The Same Rates
Those that grew the fastest in 5 years… Were more likely to have their worship described as: Being Informal** Filled with Presence of God Joyful Exciting ** Inspirational And Thought-provoking When compared to all other megachurches.
Those that grew the fastest in 5 years… When compared to all other megachurches. Were more likely to describe their church as: more spiritually vital and alive having a clear mission and vision holding strong beliefs being willing to meet new challenges and as welcoming innovation and change
Those that grew the fastest in 5 years… When compared to all other megachurches. DID NOT engage in more evangelistic programs DID NOT do more: Advertising Sponsoring visitor events Special activities for visitors Contacting of people in the community Or follow up with visitors to the church
Those that grew the fastest in 5 years… When compared to all other megachurches. DID inspire members to be involved in recruitment
Megachurch Outreach Lessons Evangelize in every way you can Challenge members to invite others Follow up on those who come Incorporate new people into the life of the church Empower all members to develop their gifts and to use them Preach sermons of substance and relevance to everyday life Offer lively contemporary worship
Megachurch Learnings 1) Don't strive for size; strive to serve God. 2) Know your audience and speak their language – who is God calling you to reach? 3) Make it appealing and welcoming, then make it serious and challenging. 4) Church is more than just a "Sunday thing." 5) Create participants rather than members. 6) Get new attendees/ everyone involved. 7) Intentionally inter-connect the congregation. 8) Growth in the faith isn’t just for new Christians; it’s for the saints too. 9) Empower people to identify and live out their calling. 10) Whatever you do - do it with quality.