Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Megachurches (Five Largest in USA)


Houston, Texas (trekearth.com)

Introduction


With a PhD in Theology and Philosophy of Religion from Wales academia is not my only option for potential employment using my four academic degrees earned over the years. Lately I have been considering church work as it has been suggested to me. I reason I have been led to be a Theologian, Biblical Scholar, and in later years a Philosopher of Religion and the eventual work as an Assistant or Associate Professor was just assumed by myself and many others. Of the three figures of CVs I have sent out they have not all been in academia, but have also included publishing and media. I never reasoned I was specifically led to be a professor, necessarily. Now I realize churches probably are not looking for Philosophers of Religion but Theologians and Biblical Scholars, yes. So 2/3 is not bad...

Megachurches Definition

So, what about megachurches?

Hartford Institute for Religion Research

According to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research

'Megachurch Definition

The term megachurch generally refers to any Protestant congregation... with a sustained average weekly attendance of 2000 persons or more in its worship services.

Most discussions of megachurches focus on very large Protestant Christian congregations in the United States - of which there are over 1200.

Likewise, there are significant numbers of megachurches throughout the world, especially in Korea, Brazil, and several African countries, although no exact count exists for this worldwide phenomenon. The largest megachurch in America averages 35,000 in attendance; however, several churches in Korea claim over 250,000 attenders.

Although very large congregations have existed throughout Christian history, there has been a rapid proliferation of churches with massive attendance since the decade of the 1970's. As such, some researchers suggest that this church form is a unique collective response to distinctive cultural shifts and changes in societal patterns throughout the industrialized, urban and suburban areas of the world.

While size is the most immediately apparent characteristic of these congregations, the Protestant megachurches in the United States generally share many other traits. Virtually all these megachurches have a conservative theology, even those within mainline denominations. A large number are nondenominational but the majority are affiliated with a denomination. The groups in the table below account for 80% of all megachurches.'

'The majority of megachurches (over sixty percent) are located in the southern Sunbelt of the United States - with California, Texas, Georgia and Florida having the highest concentrations.'

Largest Five Churches in USA from Two Sources

From:

Sermon Central

1. Lakewood Church, Houston, Texas: Pastor Joel Osteen-Attendance 43, 500
2. Second Baptist Church, Houston, Texas: Pastor Ed Young-Attendance 22, 659
3. North Point Community Church, Alpharetta, Georgia: Pastor Andy Stanley-Attendance 22, 557
4. Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, Illinois: Pastor Bill Hybels-Attendance 22, 500
5. LifeChurch.tv, Edmond, Oklahoma: Pastor Craig Groeschel-Attendance 20, 823

Forbes

1. Lakewood Church, Houston Texas, Pastor Joel Osteen, Attendance 43, 500, Annual Budget $70 Million
2. Second Baptist Church of Houston, Pastor Edwin Young, Attendance 24, 000, Annual Budget $53 Million
3. North Point Community Church, Pastor Andy Stanley, Attendance 23, 000, Annual Budget $38. 5 Million
4. Willow Creek Community Church, Pastor Bill Hybels, Attendance 22, 500, Annual Budget $36. 2 Million
5. LifeChurch.tv, Pastor Craig Groeschel, Attendance 21, 000, Annual Budget $32 Million


Houston, Texas (trekearth.com)


Caddo Lake, Texas (Google Images)


Alex Fraser Bridge, Richmond/New Westminster, BC (trekearth.com)


Conwy Castle, Wales 2001

Thoughts

A former professor/mentor of mine suggested I look at potential employment via megachurches with obviously more possible work being available being in the United States than much smaller and less Christianized, Canada. Pastor Joel Osteen's theological inadequacies have been well-documented by those such as Dr. Albert Mohler and I am sure throughout the blogosphere, but that is just one let us state, questionable, example of a megachurch. Perhaps some churches with over 2000 (or somewhat less) attendees will have a need for Biblical Studies and Theology programs at a BA level and someone of my credentials could be considered a very useful potential employee.

Of course there are many issues to discuss potentially in comments in regard to a megachurch possibly not meeting the needs of attenders and members when a large church becomes too large and corporate. And there are also many things a larger church can accomplish with more revenue in comparison to a smaller church.


Lego megachurch (Google Images)






Cartoons from Google Images.


Thanks to my friend Mark for a post on Facebook...
Of course Benny has been on this blog previously. Here is a reprise below.

34 comments:

  1. Hi Russ.
    Good to see you are still out there asking the questions. Not sure where I stand on the mega church thing. I've often wondered how they might stop them from growing. "Sorry we are full" signs don't seem that appropriate. Its probably a reflection of our society more than anything. Some might go there to hide away. My son has attended Hillsong in Sydney for several years and was very involved in one of their social out reach programs. From an outsider looking in I think its a great church that is making a significant and important impact on the community. My heart is for smaller country churches who population percentage wise are often bigger in their community than the mega churches and hence influence more people in their small community. Just a thought. As for you getting a job in one I am sure some of their Bible colleges could use someone like you.
    Russell from Melbourne but in Kuala Lumpur for two weeks holiday with my grandson and his mum and dad. I'm a blessed man.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Blessings to you in Kuala Lumpur, Russell, very good to hear from you again. Within my 250+ CVs I have sent out in 2011-2012, they have included Bible colleges in North America. Now I admit I have not looked at Oceania as of yet. I agree with your idea in general that there could be churches connected to Bible colleges that would consider me. Perhaps if I can become attached to a church in employment that is another way to become associated with an academic institution. I am presently attempting to contact some larger churches.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello Russ,

    I have attended the larger churches as well as the smaller ones, they both have their positives and negatives. If i lived in Texas i would probably attend Pastor John Haggee's church. I appreciate His stand for Israel and all that He is doing for the Jewish people. His sermons are always good too in my opinion.. I love the pics, they are always so pretty :)

    Tammy :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you, Tamela.

    Trekearth does such a fine job with the photos, and as long as no individual complains I will keep using them and document they are from trekearth.com. Google Images also can be helpful.

    As for Pastor John Hagee, I agree he is a very good preacher, but I have heard and read mixed reviews of his theology. Here is the link and parts of an article from CRI/Christian Research Institute:

    CRI

    Pastor John Hagee
    DH005
    CRI Statement

    Salvation Without Conversion?

    'Hagee is recognized as a fierce foe of anti-Semitism. An outspoken supporter of the Jewish people, Judaism, and the nation Israel, he has been given the “Humanitarian of the Year” award by the San Antonio B’nai B’rith Council. Hagee has also been bestowed the “ZOA Israel Service Award” by the Zionist Organization in Dallas and honored with the “Henrietta Szold Award” by the Texas Southern Region of Hadassah.8

    While his bold stance against anti-Semitism is certainly praiseworthy, Hagee’s zealousness for the Jewish people and their cause has led him to commit a most serious doctrinal error — salvation for the Jews without conversion to Christianity. One newspaper account puts it this way:

    Trying to convert Jews is a “waste of time,” he [Hagee] said. . .

    Everyone else, whether Buddhist or Baha’i, needs to believe in Jesus, he says. But not Jews. Jews already have a covenant with God that has never been replaced with Christianity, he says.

    “The Jewish people have a relationship to God through the law of God as given through Moses,” Hagee said. “I believe that every Gentile person can only come to God through the cross of Christ. I believe that every Jewish person who lives in the light of the Torah, which is the word of God, has a relationship with God and will come to redemption.

    “The law of Moses is sufficient enough to bring a person into the knowledge of God until God gives him a greater revelation. And God has not,” said Hagee . . .9'

    ReplyDelete
  5. There seems to be an upswelling lately in Christian Zionism, and end-times/rapture postulating.
    I just think we need to individually be where God wants us to be, in submission to His will, and trust in Him for future events.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I wonder what your thoughts are about church in general - this could probably be another blog post topic. I have at least one Facebook friend who writes frequently about how church attendance is not really Biblical, that Christians can commune without having a designated building and central overseer (pastor) who provides leadership.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Movie coming out this September all about HELL.

    ReplyDelete
  8. 'chucky said...

    There seems to be an upswelling lately in Christian Zionism, and end-times/rapture postulating.
    I just think we need to individually be where God wants us to be, in submission to His will, and trust in Him for future events.'

    I attempt to support a Biblical, both Testaments, position on Israel. I also attempt to support Israel as a democracy and Western nation. That being stated any issues surrounding Israel need to looked at with serious scholarship before being taken too dogmatically.

    ReplyDelete
  9. 'chucky said...

    I wonder what your thoughts are about church in general - this could probably be another blog post topic. I have at least one Facebook friend who writes frequently about how church attendance is not really Biblical, that Christians can commune without having a designated building and central overseer (pastor) who provides leadership.'

    Some thoughts from Blogging and when I was trying to collect data for my both my MPhil and PhD questionnaires and speaking with Reverends are that the Christian Church in the West, is often too fragmented. I have found that some in Christian leadership are too radical and fundamentalist either to the left or to the right and unwilling to associate with others that are in different in the Church. I reason one as a leader and teacher can stand for specific doctrines, as I do with Reformed doctrines on my blogs, but at the same time be open to dialogue with others of different groups.

    So, in conclusion I think too many Christian leaders are causing division by placing too much emphasis on secondary issues at the expense of dialogue with others in the Church.

    There is a need for an overseer see 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. To not have one is to risk unqualified, uneducated leadership and cultic teaching.

    ReplyDelete
  10. 'chucky said...

    Movie coming out this September all about HELL.'

    From Kevin Miller, I went to CBC with him.

    ReplyDelete
  11. mega churches are huge! thats a lot of people! This was a very informative article, I didn't realize how big these churches actually were...All the best as you pursue employment within these types of churches
    -BLOG READER-

    ReplyDelete
  12. Nice pics as usual, a nice visual as I read through your articles!
    -Picture Perfect-

    ReplyDelete
  13. With such huge budgets for these mega churches, its hopeful that they might have an opening for someone with your credentials Dr. Murray.
    -Hoping For the Best-

    ReplyDelete
  14. 'Anonymous said...

    mega churches are huge! thats a lot of people! This was a very informative article, I didn't realize how big these churches actually were...All the best as you pursue employment within these types of churches
    -BLOG READER-'

    Please pray for mega work & mega pay.;)

    ReplyDelete
  15. 'Anonymous said...

    With such huge budgets for these mega churches, its hopeful that they might have an opening for someone with your credentials Dr. Murray.
    -Hoping For the Best-'

    Rush has a song 'Something for Nothing' popular on live recordings. Well, I am not aiming for 'Nothing for Something'. Cheers.

    ReplyDelete
  16. 'Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Nice pics as usual, a nice visual as I read through your articles!
    -Picture Perfect-'

    Thank you to Google Images and Trekearth.com.

    ReplyDelete
  17. For years, I have heard good things about Bill Hybels. I attended a megachurch in Jacksonville, when I went to college there, and the preaching there was pretty good, though binoculars certainly would have helped, because it was the size of an (American) football stadium. I visited one or more megachurches in Miami as well. Since moving to Ocala, I have attended two megachurches, and both have presented a very watered-down gospel. Megachurches often have many programs to offer, but small churches are usually more like a close family.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks for the comment, that will be one I contact.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I don't really agree with megachurches. I can't see how they can represent the thoughts of everyone else there, but also I could imagine it not having so much of a community feel, and for the people to not really be there for others. I guess at least there will definitely be people attending though.

    Thanks for your e-mail by the way. I am a bit busy at the moment but I will look into following your other blog.

    ReplyDelete
  20. 'I don't really agree with megachurches. I can't see how they can represent the thoughts of everyone else there, but also I could imagine it not having so much of a community feel, and for the people to not really be there for others.'

    Thanks, Sarah. You mentioned the similar difficulties I did.

    Positives will be a professional production and financial ability to assist many.

    Another thought that comes to mind with you being from England, and me having lived there and studied in the UK is how the megachurch concept differs with the traditional British community church concept. A concept of course shared with other parts of Europe and also North America.

    ReplyDelete
  21. An interesting documentary about the life of Marjoe Gortner, a child preacher who grew up a non-believer, manipulating his followers for personal benefit.

    ReplyDelete
  22. From this mini-review it seems Marjoe was also a Mormon, and is now atheist.

    ReplyDelete
  23. 'chucky said...

    An interesting documentary about the life of Marjoe Gortner, a child preacher who grew up a non-believer, manipulating his followers for personal benefit.'

    I remember him as a good guest star actor from television series in the 1970s-1980s.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Quote:

    'This is not a Marx quote. These are the words of Marjoe, in his biographical documentary film which I learned about from youtuber gogreen18 -a brilliant atheist and ex-Mormon-,'

    ReplyDelete
  25. 'Faced with staggering debts and a bankruptcy filing, the glass building was recently sold to the local Catholic diocese, but can remain Protestant in the short term.'

    ReplyDelete
  26. Benny Hinn, what a false prophet. Those videos are both funny and yet sad.

    ReplyDelete
  27. About the Crystal Cathedral, I'm glad that the Roman Catholics bought this church and not Benny Hinn!!
    -Be Honest-

    ReplyDelete
  28. Kirk Lucas

    Captain Kirk meets Sir Star Wars George Lucas with a special tribute
    -My Way or the Highway-

    ReplyDelete
  29. Idiots

    Why are people doing such silly things and hurting themselves?
    -Walter T. Franklin-

    ReplyDelete
  30. 'Anonymous said...
    About the Crystal Cathedral, I'm glad that the Roman Catholics bought this church and not Benny Hinn!!
    -Be Honest-'

    I am glad it is not becoming a mosque.

    ReplyDelete
  31. 'Anonymous said...
    Kirk Lucas

    Captain Kirk meets Sir Star Wars George Lucas with a special tribute
    -My Way or the Highway-'

    Shatner keeps his career going...

    O Canada

    ReplyDelete
  32. 'Anonymous said...
    Idiots

    Why are people doing such silly things and hurting themselves?
    -Walter T. Franklin-'

    The piledriver on and then off the roof, absolutely idiotic. The two looked quite hurt and were in much pain.

    ReplyDelete

Follow Site By Email