What does your average megachurch attendee look like? Pretty much like any other churchgoer—though with some significant differences—according to a study released late last year by the Leadership Network titled, “Not Who You Think They Are: The Real Story of People Who Attend America’s Megachurches.”
The research drew 24,900 responses from 12 megachurches across the U.S., and is the largest national representative study of megachurch attendees conducted by any researchers to date, the report stated.
In a typical week, more than 5 million people attend megachurches—defined as Protestant congregations of 2,000 or more weekly attendees.
“Broadly speaking, people who attend megachurches are mostly similar to the average churchgoer in smaller-size congregations,” the survey noted. “Both groups are predominantly female, well educated, middle class, and married with children. But if one looks closer at the information, significant differences emerge. Megachurches have larger percentages of younger people and singles; they are wealthier and have more education when compared to the random sampling of attenders of Protestant churches.”
In a typical congregation, the average attendee age is 53, according to other studies. The average age of megachurch respondents to the Leadership Network study, however, was 40, and nearly two-thirds of megachurch attendees came in at under 45.
Also interesting was the finding that nearly one-third of megachurch attendees are single, whereas only 10 percent of attendees are single in a typical congregation. Additionally, 32 percent of megachurch attendees give nothing financially, and 45 percent never volunteer at church.
So what attracted them to a megachurch to begin with? Respondents said it was the church’s worship style, the senior pastor and the church’s reputation.
To read this and other similar studies, visit www.leadnet.org.