(redirected from Megachurches)
Also found in: Dictionary.


large Protestant church with an average weekly attendance of 2,000 or more; relatively uncommon until after 1970. In the United States, where most megachurches are located, there were more than 1,300 by the late 2000s. They can also be found in a number of other countries, e.g., South Korea, Brazil, and several African nations. More than 60 percent of the American megachurches are located in the Sun Belt, especially in suburban areas of California, Texas, Georgia, and Florida. The average congregation ranges from about 2,000 to 3,000 in size.

Whether belonging to an established denomination or nondenominational, practically all American megachurches share a conservative, evangelical theology and aim at attracting members from many religious backgrounds. Most megachuches have pastors who possess a markedly charismatic preaching style and often make use of print, television, and radio in their ministry. Run as much like businesses as religious institutions, megachurches usually serve social as well as theological functions. Typically open from morning until night, seven days a week, they very often host conferences, hold classes, operate cafés or food courts, maintain gyms and other sports facilities, offer child care and youth programs, and have many other auxiliary operations, including a variety of outreach programs. Other features of some of today's megachurches include the operation of a variety of business ventures such as residential developments, shopping centers, investment partnerships, a sports arena, publishing house, limousine service, graphic design studio, recording studio and record label, and specialized web sites.

One of the earliest, best known, and probably the most architecturally distinguished of the megachurches is the Crystal Cathedral (1980), Garden Grove, Calif., the former home church (1980–2010) of televangelist Robert H. SchullerSchuller, Robert Harold,
1926–2015, American Protestant minister and television evangelist, b. Alton, Iowa. Schuller gained attention (1955) when he used a drive-in theater to preach to his newly established Los Angeles–area congregation.
..... Click the link for more information.
; the building was designed by Philip JohnsonJohnson, Philip Cortelyou,
1906–2005, American architect, museum curator, and historian, b. Cleveland, grad. Harvard Univ. (B.A., 1927). One of the first Americans to study modern European architecture, Johnson wrote (with H.-R.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and John Burgee. By the mid-2000s, the nation's largest such church was the nondenominational Lakewood Church, Houston, Tex., pastored by Joel Osteen and holding services for a congregation of more than 40,000 in a former sports arena.


See studies by O. Guinness (1993), J. N. Vaughan (1993), G. A. Pritchard (1996), D. E. Miller (1997), L. E. Schaller (1992 and 2000), J. H. Kilde (2002), A. C. Loveland and O. B. Wheeler (2003), J. B. Twitchell (2004), G. Marti (2005), S. Ellington (2007), and S. Thumma and D. Travis (2007).

Mentioned in ?
References in periodicals archive ?
Of the nation's 50 largest megachurches, all but 6 are located in areas much like Tyson's Corner.
For example, the televangelism trend of the 1970s turned megachurches into media empires.
Washington, August 20 ( ANI ): New research from the University of Washington have revealed that American megachurches use stagecraft, sensory pageantry, charismatic leadership and an upbeat, unchallenging vision of Christianity to provide their congregants with a powerful emotional religious experience.
One of the great joys of reading Evangellyfish is picking up on the author's disgust for these megachurches, with their names like Sandalstrap Community and their spotlighted sermons, usually called "messages" These little commentaries come not just from the narrator but from the detectives looking into the abuse allegations against him.
The book's findings illustrate that Black megachurches strive to model success on various fronts by tapping into effective historic Black church tools and creating cultural kits that foster excitement, expectation, and entitlement.
These include the church growth movement, megachurches, the emergent church fad, the response to postmodernity, American cultural hegemony, and prosperity theology.
It seems logical to me that the emerging church movement is mostly white because it is emerging from the mostly white world of evangelical megachurches.
Salvation Boulevard is set in the world of megachurches in which a Deadhead (Grateful Dead fan) turned born-again Christian finds himself on the run from fundamentalist members of his church.
It is a network of support--everything from companies that provide background checks for employees and volunteers to those that specialize in crisis management, in addition to insurance--that leverages technology to connect megachurches with information and resources that help mitigate risk and provide new and different means for such things as risk financing and retention.
Like many megachurches, Saddleback provided services galore for its members, including marriage counseling and job training.
Rah doesnt let megachurches or the emergent church off the hook either but points to them as simply some of the most recent examples of the churchs captivity to Western white culture.
For those involved in their church or who attend megachurches, Wells suggests hosting a celebratory gathering after a morning ceremony at the church.