Understanding Megachurches Part 2: Finances

Recently, Leadership Network released a new study entitled The Economic Outlook of Very Large Churches: Trends Driving the Budgets and Staffing Activities of North America’s Biggest Congregations. The infographic below was part of that release. Considering the discussion yesterday here on the blog about the growth of the number of megachurches, I thought this was worth sharing today.

Again, the number of megachurches is not declining. And based on these statistics, they are financially healthier than non-megas.

According to our most recent LifeWay Research economic impact survey, 22% of all churches reported giving below budget. Only 17% of megachurches expect giving to be below budget this year. Also, 70% of megachurches showed an increase in giving as compared to just 40% of all churches.

Despite 50% of large churches being slowed by the Great Recession that has marked North America since 2008, a majority of large congregations met or exceeded their budgets in 2012, and most have seen offerings increase over that same time period.

You can find those and other findings in Leadership Network’s most recent report, The Economic Outlook of Very Large Churches: Trends Driving the Budgets and Staffing Activities of North America’s Biggest Congregations (free download).

Church staffing trends, giving patterns of worship attenders and the role of e-giving are also part of this year’s findings, which draw from two Leadership Network surveys of more than 700 large churches.

EconomicOutlook

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer

Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., holds the Billy Graham Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism at Wheaton College and serves as Executive Director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches, trained pastors and church planters on six continents, holds two masters degrees and two doctorates, and has written dozens of articles and books. Previously, he served as Executive Director of LifeWay Research. Stetzer is a contributing editor for Christianity Today, a columnist for Outreach Magazine, and is frequently cited or interviewed in news outlets such as USAToday and CNN. He serves as interim pastor of Moody Church in Chicago.

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In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

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