Rise of Megachurches

Are they straying too far from their religious mission?


Since the 1970s, the number of so-called megachurches — churches that attract at least 2,000 people to weekly services — has been exploding in the United States and abroad, particularly in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Many of the more than 1,200 U.S. megachurches sit on large suburban campuses and boast vast sanctuaries with multiple large TV screens and other high-tech amenities. Several serve meals at their own sprawling food courts and cafés and offer gymnasiums and other facilities. Megachurches are typically Protestant evangelical and espouse conservative positions on social issues. Church leaders are often charismatic ministers who preach the "prosperity gospel," stressing personal fulfillment and success as much as theology. Some researchers suggest megachurches are a unique, collective response to people's needs amid sweeping ...

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