Leadership Network and Hartford Institute Announce Intriguing Findings about U.S. Megachurches

Dec 03, 2015, 12:00 ET from Leadership Network

DALLAS, Dec. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The latest research on America's largest-attendance churches has just been released.  This report offers an overview description of the 1,650 megachurches in the United States (defined as regularly drawing 2,000 or more adults and children to their weekend worship services, all physical campuses combined). 

A few of the many findings include:

  • Compared to smaller churches, megachurches excel on issues like clarity of vision and inspirational worship
  • Continued growth of multisite congregations (one church in two or more locations)
  • Significant numbers of large churches sponsor internship or residency programs
  • Decrease in median seating capacity of megachurch's main sanctuary
  • Numerous warning signs of potential difficulties for megachurches

An infographic on the cover of the richly illustrated 20-page report highlights 12 important findings in the evolution of megachurches. "In any given weekend, almost 1 out of 10 people who attend a Protestant church go to a megachurch. This class of churches has significant influence and impact on both society and the church world," says co-author Warren Bird.  "The research illuminates these continuing trends that shape the megachurch phenomenon and the religious landscape generally, but it also shows them to be subjected to the same detrimental social and cultural dynamics that plague smaller churches," says lead writer Scott Thumma.

Co-authors Scott Thumma, Ph.D., and Warren Bird, Ph.D., are the nation's most prolific researchers and writers on megachurch trends.

For interviews contact Thumma at sthumma@hartsem.edu or @sthumma and Bird at warren.bird@leadnet.org or Twitter @warrenbird.

The report, titled "Recent Shifts in America's Largest Protestant Churches," is a free download identically at www.hartfordinstitute.org, which also includes the survey frequencies, and at www.leadnet.org/megachurch, which also includes a video webinar discussion of the report.

Leadership Network's role is to foster innovation movements that activate the church to greater impact for the glory of God's name. The nonprofit founded in 1984 now serves over 200,000 leaders around the world. See www.leadnet.org.

Hartford Seminary's Hartford Institute for Religion Research, founded in 1981, has an international reputation as an important bridge between the scholarly community and the practice of faith. See www.hartfordinstitute.org.

The report sponsor is The Beck Group, www.beckgroup.com, a leading integrated architecture, construction and technology firm, whose broad experience includes megachurch and other faith-based projects around the world.


SOURCE Leadership Network