Global Megachurch Growth

churchesSmall churches out number U.S. megachurches nine to one. Each has their own unique local and global tasks. When John Vaughan, founder of Church Growth Today (1980), wrote the book, The World’s 20 Largest Churches (1985), there were only 27 known non-Catholic churches in the world with 6,000 plus weekend attendance. Eleven were in the United States. Today, more than 200 in the U.S. are that large.

By the year 2000 the Springfield, Missouri, researcher reported the 100 largest churches grew to 4,000 attendance. They then doubled in size and the smallest of the 100 largest by 2010 increased to 8,000 weekend attendance. Today, Vaughan reports, the 100 largest of the 1,742 non-Catholic megachurches (Hartford has 1,467) begin at 9,000 attendance and the 200 largest begin at 6,000 attendance.

U.S. megachurch attendance, by global standards even by 1999 standards, are still smaller. In 1999, Church Growth Today had already identified 10 churches outside the U.S. with 30,000 weekend attendance. The three largest were Yoido Full Gospel Church-Seoul, Korea (180,000), Vision de Futuro-Santa Fe, Argentina (80,000), and Deeper Christian Life Ministry – Lagos, Nigeria (70,000). Africa is projected to be the most populated Christian continent by 2020. Africa already has more than 15 churches reporting more than 20,000 attendance. What many American church leaders think of as unique recent American creativity and innovation has been known in other global megachurches as simply old school survival strategies for several decades.

What about the next decade? Vaughan, with the Springfield, Missouri based Church Growth Today has already identified the next 150 potential emerging 9,000 attendance megachurches, their geography, and their rates of growth. There are, as never before, an abundance of capable pastors able to lead these churches in the next generation.

About Church Growth Today – Church Growth Today, located in Springfield, Missouri, is a church growth research center founded in 1980 by Dr. John N. Vaughan and specializes in U.S. and global megachurches. International Megachurch Research Center was created in 1985 under Church Growth Today specifically for global megachurch research already begun by Church Growth Today.

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About Nelson Searcy

Nelson Searcy is an experienced church growth strategist, pastor, church planter and coach, consulting with churches around the world. As founder of Church Leader Insights and the Renegade Pastors Network, he has personally trained more than 3,500 church leaders in over 45 denominations through live events, seminars and monthly coaching. Nelson is also the Founding and Lead Pastor of The Journey Church, with locations across New York City and in Boca Raton, FL. Nelson and his church routinely appear on lists such as “The 50 Most Influential Churches” and “The 25 Most Innovative Leaders.” He is the author of over 100 church growth resources and 18+ books, including The Renegade Pastor: Abandoning Average in Your Life, Ministry and The Difference Maker: Using Your Everyday Life for Eternal Impact, and At the Cross with the People Who Were There. He and his wife, Kelley, have one son, Alexander.

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