First posted at Christian Coaching Tools: https://christiancoachingtools.com/articles/coaching-megachurch/
There will always be voices that rise above the din in Christianity and those voices will attract large congregations. The larger the influence the more likely a coach is involved.
A current opinion in American Christian circles is that the age of the megachurch is waning or even over. With the platform growing beyond the pulpit and onto streaming and social media, the truth is there will always be a megachurch and chances are it will go global.
Should ‘Megachurch’ be the goal? No. The work of making disciples is personal. For every Mega Pastor there are thousands of men and women in the trenches making huge contributions to the Kingdom on a seemingly small stage.
Perspective on Global Church Growth
The top 10 largest churches globally range from 65,000 in worship attendance and peak at 480,000 (Yoido Full Gospel Church in South Korea). It is fascinating that with all the sophistication of the American church, not one is located in the US. The top 10 largest congregations are located in Nigeria, India, Indonesia, Korea, and the Philippines.
For perspective, the largest church in America is North Point at 35,000 in Apharetta, GA.
What do you know about really large churches in America?
- 0.5% – While almost 10% of Protestant church goers attend a megachurch (2,000+ in weekly worship attendance), these churches represent only about half of one percent of the roughly 320,000 Protestant churches that exist in the United States.
Why do American churches hit a lower attendance ceiling?
This is obviously a loaded question. The answer would involve a grocery list of complex issues. However, one issue stands out that negatively impacts the health of the church in America. Based on research from Natural Church Development America, the #1 health restricting area is Empowering Leadership.
How many leadership books do you have on your bookshelf? It is ironic that we have so much information and knowledge on leadership yet the American church trails the rest of the world in church growth. We can justify this with very reasonable explanations but the fact remains – our largest churches are a fraction of the size when compared to the global landscape.
Considerations when coaching really large church pastors:
When coaching a large church lead pastor there are some unique considerations that are worth investing time and energy into if you are motivated to coach clients in this arena.
- Know yourself
This might seem obvious. You have a certain comfort level. If you are comfortable working with clients who lead 500-member churches and you are content; keep working with leaders of this caliber. If you aspire to work with larger churches then you might want to consider the following.
Consider the type of church leader you gravitate towards. The leaders might be of a certain theological persuasion, a particular context, or style. The clearer you are on who you are uniquely gifted to coach the more aware you will be when you encounter leaders of your tribe.
What are the common denominators that cause you to gravitate towards certain leaders?
- Become a subject expert
What are the common needs really large churches share? Based on the NCD research, Empowering Leadership is an issue that creates a ceiling for the majority of congregations in the US. The question then for you is, how can you increase your ability to coach leaders in this area?
Consider doing a deep dive on an aspect of leadership development. For really large churches, hiring the right staff member is mission critical. So much is on the line – time, money, opportunity. One resource that helps in the hiring process is the Harrison Assessment. You probably have your own “go-to” resources. Become well-versed in that area and be ready to offer your services in your area of expertise.
What leadership topics do large churches face that you resonate with and have expertise?
Specializations for coaching really large churches:
- Leadership Development
- Change Management
- Succession planning
- FInd opportunities to connect
Really large church pastors flock together. Like the statistics reveal, the median church in the U.S. has 75 regular participants in worship. Currently there are 1,750 megachurches in the United States, according to church lists compiled by Leadership Network.
Therefore, the leader of a church of 2,000 or more in weekly worship attendance is a unicorn in the American church landscape.
“Excellence, choices, openness to change, low pressure seeker environments, being multicultural, creating a full-service family support system, church planting, faith-based holistic ministries and providing R&D to the broader church” are distinctives that draw like-minded leaders of very large churches together and forge bonds.
It makes sense and is a not-well-kept secret that large church pastors network with other large church pastors.
How and where do lead pastors of really large churches gather?
10 myths to debunk about very large churches:
- Bigger is Better
- Driven by the lead pastor’s ego
- Hyper-focused on numbers
- Should be the goal of every leader
- Autonomous to a fault
- Water-down the gospel
- Run like a corporation
- Get’s all the attention
- Big dog!
Reflection questions to grow your ability to coach very large church pastors
- How can you build your track record to gain credibility?
- How are you growing in your knowledge of large church culture?
- Who do you know that coaches pastors of very large churches?
- How can you connect with the kind of leaders you want to coach?
- Historically, what size church are you comfortable coaching?
- Which phase of the growth cycle are you most authentically effective?
- What is holding you back?
Do you want to take your team on the disciple-making journey together? The Discipleship Collective helps you mobilize other disciple makers. Take the Disciple Maker Quiz to discover the habits in which you are excelling and the growth points on which you need to focus. Then invite other members of your team to join you. It’s FREE and you can use it as often as you like!
If you want your team to be better equipped to make disciples consider the DISCIPLESHIP COLLECTIVE.