Ed Stetzer: Megachurches Are Not Dying Out — They Are Thriving, Even Growing

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Ed Stetzer set the record straight about the prevalence and health of megachurches in this country, even as rumors say they are declining.

In a blog post, LifeWay Research president Ed Stetzer set the record straight about the prevalence and health of megachurches in this country, even as rumors say they are declining. Referring to several reputable research sources, Stetzer showed that the megachurch, despite its tendency to be scrutinized, is not dying but thriving.

“I have heard this over and over again — that the megachurch is dying out,” wrote Stetzer in the post. “One problem: the claims are just not true … It’s not a matter of debate; it is simply a matter of math.”

Stetzer quoted research from Warren Bird and Scott Thumma, LifeWay Research/Outreach magazine‘s 100 Largest Churches in America, and John Vaughn’s research on ChurchGrowthToday. All facts show that megachurches are thriving, even growing, not declining, and the numbers of them have exploded in the past decade. Specifically, “the number of megachurches has nearly doubled during every decade in the last 50 years. There are as many megachurches today in the greater Nashville area as there were in the entire country in 1960.”

Stetzer’s blog shows a telling graphic that illustrates the dramatic growth megachurches have seen in the last half-century. “The graphic might show a slowdown in the last two years from the explosive growth we saw over the past decade … (but) two years does not make a trend, and the trend is quite remarkable…” wrote Stetzer.

Stetzer added, “I don’t think that every megachurch is good … yet I want to understand them more and, when possible, to encourage them on their journey.”

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  • Swik

    If you’re a mega church not multiplying then in my mind you’re dying or close to it. Thriving mega churches (as those sited) are the ones launching out with multi-sites, planting new churches and reaching more with the mission to “Go make disciples…” Hopefully as more churches both “mega & micro” step out and multiply we can outpace the subtraction of the @7,000 churches that close each year and add more souls into the Kingdom one community at a time…it’s simply a matter of “mission” and not just numbers.