The Hartford Institute for Religious Research defines a megachurch as one with a sustained weekly attendance of 2,000 or more worshipers. Since the 1970s, the number of megachurches has grown, and today there are roughly 800 of these Protestant Christian congregations in the United States.
Megachurches share a conservative ideology, and most of them are either nondenominational
or affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention or the Assemblies of God.
To accommodate the average weekly attendance of nearly 4,000 parishioners, megachurches
are most often located in the suburbs. On average, they occupy a large chunk
of real estate—50 to 100 acres of land—and are usually built near
Megachurches employ mega-personnel and manage mega-volunteers. In a 1999 survey
conducted by the Faith Communities Today (FACT) project, 153 megachurches reported
employing 13 full-time paid ministerial staff, and 25 full-time paid program
staff. The average number of volunteers who gave five or more hours a week to
the church was nearly 300. Those numbers are large, but not surprising, considering
attendance at the institutions surveyed rose an average of 90 percent during
the last 20 years.
statistics from the FACT survey show that, on average, megachurches are nearly
80 percent white, 10.5 percent black, 5.5 percent Hispanic and 2.1 percent Asian.
Minnesota has 26 megachurches and is eighth in the nation among states with
the greatest number of megachurches; following California, Texas, Florida, Georgia,
Maryland, Illinois and Michigan. ||
"You say what's going to happen on this earth when the
Rapture occurs? You'll be riding along in an automobile; you'll be the driver,
perhaps; you're a Christian; there'll be several people in the automobile with
you, maybe someone who is not a Christian. When the trumpet sounds, you and
the other born-again Christians in that automobile will be instantly caught
away, you'll disappear, leaving behind only your clothing and physical things
that cannot inherit eternal life. That unsaved person or persons in the automobile
will suddenly be startled to find that the car is moving along without a driver,
and suddenly somewhere crashes. Those saved people in the car have disappeared.
Other cars on the highway driven by believers will suddenly be out of control.
Stark pandemonium will occur on that highway and on every highway in the world
where Christians are caught away from the world."
- Jerry Falwell