The following outline is from article that was written by Scott Thumma, a sociologist of religion and researcher for Hartford Institute for Religion Research at Hartford Seminary.
10 ‘Mega Church’ Principles For Ministry in Any Size Church
“What could my church possibly learn from these behemoths with million-dollar budgets, hundreds of staff and thousands of excited volunteers?” In my travels, I repeatedly hear pastors ask this question. I understand why. But my last 20-plus years of research on megachurches throughout the world suggests that churches of all sizes have much to learn from this phenomenon. However, I don’t believe the primary lessons come from their specific ministry efforts.
Instead, the most important things we can learn are the strategies behind all their ministry efforts. I’ve found that one of the biggest keys to most megachurches’ success is their ability to minister in, and adapt to, an ever-changing contemporary world. A vital church reaches out to both its members and non-Christians in relevant ways, and megachurches seem to do this both accidentally and intentionally. Here are 10 basic principles gleaned from megachurches that I believe churches of all sizes can apply:
1. Don’t strive for size; strive to serve God
The vast majority of megachurches came about because their pastors had a passion and a vision for reaching the unchurched.
2. Know your strengths and put them to work
Come to an awareness of exactly what God is calling your church to be and do in your context.
3. Evangelize in every possible way
The entire congregation, every person—not just the leadership—is commissioned to go and make disciples of all nations.
4. Make it appealing, then make it challenging
Many megachurches provide intentional paths for new persons to move into deeper levels of the faith.
5. Worship is not just a “Sunday thing.”
Preach and demonstrate a faith that is practiced daily in everyday ways.
6. Create participants—not members.
Megachurches create intentional ways to integrate new persons into the active life of the church.
7. Connect the congregation.
It is well-known that megachurches intentionally use small fellowship groups to create intimacy and connections. No church, however, should take the creation of interpersonal relationships for granted. It will not happen naturally.
8. Whatever you do, do it with excellence.
However, every size church can start on time, have greeters and ushers who undertake their duties professionally, make sure their bathrooms are clean, and ensure the landscaping is well-groomed.
9. Empower people to identify and live out their calling.
God was the primary active partner, but it also required the commitment and spiritual labor of the entire congregation. All Christians are called to serve God through their own unique talents and gifts.
10. Sanctification isn’t just for newcomers.
It’s for the saints, too. Strive to deepen the spirituality of your entire congregation.