What’s So Great About Megachurches?

According to an article by Cathy Lynn Grossman at USA Today, most people who change churches move to larger churches.

But according to Scott Thumma of Hartford Theological Seminary, author of an upcoming book, Beyond Megachurch Myths,

“The 1,200 or so megachurches (defined as churches where 2,000 or more people attend weekend worship) are only one-half of 1% of all U.S. churches and account for only 5% of all weekend worship attenders,” Thumma says.

“And my sense, after years of examining megachurches, is that 80% of the people who join, including those who go through new member classes, are gone within the first two years.”

What was really interesting to me was the large percentage of people who say they left their old church because it “failed to engage their faith, or put their talents to work, or it seemed hypocritical or judgmental”.

So…take courage Church Planters…keep engaging your congregation and remain authentic.

As our friend Dave Anderson said, “You are the mega-church“!


About Jimmy Eldridge

I am a husband, a father, a son, a brother and most of all, a follower of our most gracious savior Christ Jesus. Who are you following?

12 thoughts on “What’s So Great About Megachurches?

  1. I’ve planted a church (Fail). I’ve tried to help a rescue church that was dying (fail). I’ve been part of medium churches and small churches, and large churches. When we move, we’re going to be part of a “mega” church. The thing is that I have found. Most people who leave and spout the crap about “my faith wasn’t engaged” ****wring hands on cue***** in the small church, when they do leave the next bigger church they say the same thing. Those stats about two years apply to almost any church of any size. Since it is just his sense and he doesn’t seem to have any hard data to back it up, I think it may be a tad high but I doubt that it’s too high.
    In my experience with church (going on quite a few years that we’ll keep confidential) people leave church for a host of reasons, not the least of which is they want to engage their carnal side.
    I know that sounds harsh, but I actually know a family who left their church because “they were burnt out.” Now, they weren’t too burnt out to travel and do “fun” things they were just too burnt out to go to church. They didn’t want to be accountable.
    For a young church planter that could be catastrophic. I think mega-churches get too much–too much accolades and too much grief. When I was at “Basic Training” for Church planters there wasn’t a soul there that said God had called them to plant a church of 150 people. Anyone who even hinted at it was told they probably weren’t dreaming that big for God. We base so much of our “success” on numbers.
    Ok, I’ve rambled long enough.

  2. Joe,

    I appreciate what you are saying. We, (our church) are considered a mega-church and we have seen the people come from other churches for a myriad of reasons, only to leave our church a short time later, for who knows what reason.
    We purposefully do not target people of the “4D’s” as Dave put it in his great post this morning titled “4D Church Planting”. They just show up!
    We try to target the un-churched or de-churched of our area.
    We understand that people are attracted to churches where “something is happening” so we have a process fir people who come and want to “get involved”. This helps us to see where they come from and where they are going and if they fit. This has helped tremendously.
    So…basically if you want to get involved we want you to get involved, but you will need to learn who we are, what we do, why we do what we do, where we are going, what we will commit to you, and what we expect from you.
    It sounds kind of cold on the surface, but it has helped to limit what we call the “swinging back door” (people leaving).
    I have been a part of a small church as well, for 15 years, and have seen first hand the devastating effects of people not being engaged, not having their faith challenged, and being too judgemental.


  3. I’ll find the links for you. It’s the PFKNA…and then there’s a series, the congregation, the pastor, the pastor’s wife, etc. It’s interesting.

  4. Mega Churches, don’t care for them!
    They are just to big to have an relationship with anyone.
    Its like going to a concert. Where is the reverance in Gods house.Excuse me why are people crying their talents aren’t being used? I have found God gives us all talents you don’t have to have some one ask you or tell you when to use them. If you see a person in need help them If you can sing or play an instrument get involved with your choir. After all it isn’t about YOU its about GOD You know the first four commandments is our obedience to GOD the other six is how we treat each other. Read Ex. 20 and get a glimps of why your not happy in your churches. Your more than likely only keeping 9 tents of GODS commandments. If you love me you will keep (all) my commandments. Not just the ones you pick and choose to keep. We cannot serve two masters Gods 7 th day Or mans 1st day

  5. Ann,

    True…mega-churches can be difficult to connect into..unless you get involved in a small group which we feel is essential for our congregation. That’s where discipleship happens.
    You are also very right about helping someone in need…as Christians that should be without question.
    I don’t know if I would totally agree with you on the Commandments issue. Maybe I am not understanding what you are trying to say there.
    And I don’t know what you mean by the last statement, “We cannot serve two masters Gods 7 th day Or mans 1st day”. What does this have to do with this post?
    Can you clarify for me?


  6. Ann,
    I’m curious if you would mind giving us some background. Have you ever attended a Mega church for any amount of time? I agree with your statement about helping people, in fact I believe it is one of the reasons we are redeemed by God. (Eph. 2:10). I’m curious though would you mind sharing a little about how your church (I’m assuming Non-mega) does things that are different from a Mega church?
    You seem to imply in your statement that Mega-churches are not about God, do I understand that correctly?

  7. Let’s not forget that the first church in Jerusalem was a mega-church. The is not intrinsically good about being small or being large, all that we must be is Christ.

  8. I have belonged to very small, medium size and I now go to a larger church, my reason for doing this is because I just out grew the small church, the reason I say this is because where I was going I kept hearing the same messages and was not really learning anything new, now that I go to a biggger church I am more involved in the word and have learned so much more and the word and scriptures in the bible and thier meaning. I really enjoy going to a biggger church.

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