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Megachurch Report Details Changing Reality in America's Largest Churches
Note: to view larger versions of the charts included below, click on the images directly.
A new report from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, in collaboration with partners at the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) and Leadership Network, offers a glimpse into how megachurches are evolving and responding to changes in our society and culture.

This survey was conducted as part of our Faith Communities Today (FACT) 2020 study and is based on 582 key informant responses (representing a 33% response rate from the roughly 1,750 U.S. megachurches) collected between January and May 2020.
Summary of Key Findings

  • Megachurches are becoming more multiracial.
  • Megachurches have been expanding in multiple ways.
  • Small groups are central to megachurches’ spiritual formation of members.
  • Megachurches are increasingly involved in community service.
  • Many megachurches place major emphasis on special needs ministry.
  • Megachurches overwhelmingly avoid political action.
  • The role of megachurch pastors cannot be emphasized enough.
  • Spiritual vitality enhances personal and corporate practices in megachurches.
  • Spiritual vitality in megachurches shows up in distinct practices.
  • Security is important, but it has always been for most megachurches.
  • Megachurch member giving increases with engagement and trust.
  • Megachurches were well prepared for the pandemic’s shutdown.
Long-term Trends

The report also looks at long-term trends based on FACT surveys conducted in 2015, 2010, 2005 and 2000.

These findings demonstrate that some trends are reversing. Most notably, succession readiness has shifted from being "an elephant in the room" to a more comfortable discussion of what's next. Conversely, the growth of multisite and multiracial megachurches continued their positive expansion as they have over the past two decades.

Meanwhile, other trends have not varied. These include correlations associated with spiritual vitality, a strong sense of mission and purpose, per-capita giving, and openness to change, all of which have remained steady across time. These important vitality markers seem to be constant dynamics in healthy large churches, and perhaps in all congregations no matter the size.
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FACT 2020 Response Rate Exceeds Past Totals

Nearly 15,000 responses to our Faith Communities Today (FACT) 2020 survey have been collected thus far. We are delighted to say that this is the most responses we have collected in the 20-year history of FACT! With several partner group surveys still in the field, we expect this number to increase even further by the end of the year.

A comprehensive report on our findings is slated to be released next spring. Additional topical and partner reports are forthcoming also and will be distributed as they become available.
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