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GleaningsGleanings

April 24, 2014

Four States Still Don't Have Megachurches

And other 2013 year-end status updates from Leadership Network.

Megachurches may seem ubiquitous today, with more than 5 million people now worshiping at one of America's 1,650 megachurches on an average week. But research by Leadership Network's Warren Bird, who has tracked the megachurch phenomenon closely, indicates that four U.S. states still don't have a Protestant congregation with more than 2,000 weekly attenders.

In a year-end status update, Warren recently revealed that Delaware, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont still don't have a megachurch. Other stats of note:

  • Even though megachurches only account for 0.5 percent of the 320,000 Protestant churches in America, nearly 10 percent of Protestant churchgoers attend one.
  • Only 21 percent of megachurches were founded in the last 20 years (the median founding year: 1977), and only 22 percent were founded by their current lead pastor.
  • The average (median) age of megachurch lead pastors is 55, while nearly 1 in 5 are under 45. Only five percent are under 40. (CT recently noted how one of America's youngest megachurch pastors drew scrutiny for how his building a "big house" was connected to his bestselling book.)
  • Worldwide, at least 48 countries have a megachurch, according to Bird's research.

CT regularly reports on megachurches, including their financial health, whether their worship is addictive, how Las Vegas is the most megachurch-oriented city, and how megachurches united with Broadway and the NFL against a common threat.

Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, has noted the explosive growth of American megachurches and how megachurch myths are wrong.