Megachurch: So That’s How It Happens

22 03 2010

An article in the latest issue of Leadership includes a summary of how a church plant not far from us grew into a megachurch in a big hurry (it’s actually part of the introduction to an article on how that church overcame some serious problems). It’s a fascinating little glimpse behind the scenes of the Southern California way of developing churches:

“I planted — Church in 1984. Within five years we averaged 200 attenders, and then we went into overdrive.

“At a ‘How to Break the 200 Barrier’ conference, I heard John Maxwell say, ‘I’m praying for 1,000 churches to reach 1,000 in attendance.’ Immediately I knew that was my goal – I wanted to lead one of those churches reaching 1,000 people for Christ. I started doing the necessary things to grow the church.

“Step one was to ‘staff for growth.’ My first hire was a high-octane organizational genius. He had a knack for identifying a trend, programming to it, and rolling out events for our target group. He did an amazing job.

“Soon our AWANA ministry was attracting more than 200 kids, the youth ministry was almost that size, and we attracted thousands of seekers with special events like the drama ‘Heaven’s Gates and Hell’s Flames.’ We brought in speakers such as Oliver North who spoke to a packed house and helped created a positive buzz about our church in the community.

“By 1998, we reached a peak attendance of 1,000. We added more staff and planned for a new building. The sky was the limit. I was living every church planter’s dream…”

He continues to describe how it turned into a nightmare, but that’s not really my point. I just think that brief summary provides a fascinating window into the thought processes, priorities, and strategies of these churches.



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