Megachurch Trends We Small Churches Must Face

By Alan Rudnick

The appeal of the megachurch is undeniable: big building, large worship setting, youth and children’s programs, and a semi-celebrity pastor. Yet many smaller churches have not learned from their large counter parts.  There are some things megachurches are doing well and us smaller churches must take note.

A study from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research at Hartford Seminary and Leadership Network  found some surprising trends in megachurches:

  • Nearly two-thirds of megachurch attenders are under 45 years old, as compared to only one-third for all Protestant churches (62% vs. 35%).
  • Nearly a third of megachurch attenders are single, unmarried persons.  In a typical church, singles account for just 10% of the congregation.
  • Megachurch attenders are both more educated and more affluent than attenders at other churches.
  • The majority of megachurch attenders are not necessarily new to Christianity but nearly a quarter had not recently been in another church before coming to a megachurch.
  • Attraction to a mega church tends to steam from the church’s reputation, worship style and senior pastor.
  • Long-term attendance flows from an appreciation for the church’s music/arts, social and community outreach and adult-oriented programs.
  • 45% of megachurch attenders never volunteer at the church, and 40% are not engaged in a small group, the mainstay of megachurch programming.

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