Mega-Churches Double

February 6, 2006 by

Speaking of mega-churches, they’ve doubled in the last five years. There are now 1,210 churches with weekly attendance over 2,000. More info than you wanted to know about mega-churches is now available: get the overview or go for the hardcore data.

Some interesting facts include:

  • 52% of mega-churches have between 2,000-3,000 people. Only 16% have over 5,000.
  • Only 5% of mega-churches have seating for more than 3,000, which results in 52% of mega-churches offering four or more services over two or three days.
  • One-third of mega-churches were founded before 1940; 15% have been founded in the last 15 years.
  • 56% of mega-churches are intentionally trying to be multi-ethnic. On average, 19% of the attenders were not of the majority racial group, so their efforts seem to be working.
  • 96% have a web site (what are the other 4% thinking?); 77% have mailed newsletters or fliers; 75% have done radio/TV/newspaper advertising; 41% have contacted people who recently moved to the area.
Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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6 Responses to “Mega-Churches Double”

  • Rusty Shackleford
    February 6, 2006

    Can we expect a report to be accurate when the data is collected by churches filling out their own questionairres? I’m serious. Most of these churches talk about having little to no political involvement but I wonder how many put that down just because they thought the IRS might see the surveys.

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  • Kent Shaffer
    February 6, 2006

    I checked their database about a month ago and the information was dated, but their new February 3rd revisions look pretty accurate. There are some senior pastor inaccuracies, but considering the magnitude of the task, hats off to the Hartford Institute.
    With that in mind, the report should be considerably accurate.

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  • Ted
    February 7, 2006

    I am curious about the “Long Tail” of church size in the US. I am trying to get an understand of the distribution of church size and see if it conforms to Zipf’s law. I would also like to know how Christians are distributed across congregational size. The data in this study looks promising. Has anybody crunched these numbers?

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  • Jim McGee
    February 7, 2006

    Ted, you may be able to find the data you are looking for at the American Religion Data Archive: In their file directory, select IV. Aggregate Data Files -> A: Congregations and Other Religious Organizations, then select the 1998 National Congregations Study (the most recent available). They have SPSS and ascii downloads available. (They use frames, otherwise I’d give you the direct link).

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  • Joel Frederick
    February 12, 2006

    One other statistic not mentioned… Of those “mega-churches”, what are styles of worship?
    Is there any correlation?

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  • marian
    October 23, 2006

    Poor little churches. They are falling off the face of the map because everyone is moving over to the big ones. Big ones are good as long as you still have community and accountability. So many americans just want to be left alone to do their own thing. This can be very dangerous in a christian walk. If you are a part of a big church— and this includes me— make sure your congregation is getting more than just a weekly sermon but that they have the community and accountability it takes to survive as a christian.

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