I find that many people who are not currently in a mega church have certain ideas about the "kind" of people in such churches. An interesting new study by Warren Bird and Scott Thumma has been released via The Hartford Institute for Religious Research titled, Not Who You Think They Are: A Profile of The People Who Attend America's Megachurches. Below are the bullet points of the more prominent findings:
- Young and single adults are more likely to be in megachurches than in smaller churches.
- Nearly two-thirds of attenders have been at these churches 5 years or less.
- Many attenders come from other churches, but nearly a quarter haven't been in any church for a long time before coming to a megachurch.
- Attenders report a considerable increase in their involvement in church, in their spiritual growth, and in their needs being met.
- Forty-five percent of megachurch attenders never volunteer at the church.
- New people almost always come to the megachurch because family, friends or co-workers invited them.
- What first attracted attenders were the worship style, the senior pastor and the church's reputation.
- These same factors also influenced long-term attendance, as did the music/arts, social and community outreach and adult-oriented programs.
- Attenders can craft unique, customized spiritual experiences through the multitude of ministry choices and diverse avenues for involvement that megachurches offer.
This is a large document, and you would do well to download the entire report as a PDF.
Check it out and come back to discuss. Are you surprised about the findings? What are you experiencing in your church?