People fill churches every Sunday to nourish their spiritual side. Some people go to small congregations, and some individuals attend very large congregations. The large congregations with more than 2,000 members are labeled mega churches. With that many devotees, there must be a lot of work that goes on at those churches. Have you ever wondered what really goes on behind the scenes from an employee’s point of view? Let’s have a look.
If the Pastor Cannot Reel Them In, Then They’re Out of the Church
Remember when I mentioned the whole gift of gab thing earlier? These mega churches are also called charismatic churches. Why is this? Because the pastor has to have a special type of charisma in order to persuade members not only to receive their message, but also to bring new members in. Word of mouth is one of the things that builds church membership, and if the pastor is a dud, there will be no members at his church.
If a pastor does not have that gift of gab, they will be fired. No mega church wants their pastors to have members left bored, or they’re likely to spread bad news about the church’s engagement with its audience.
Mega Churches Cater to those with Special Needs
The church has always been a beacon of help to those who are in need of it most. It takes a little more than a pastor to help some members with their needs. There are an array of counselors who have positions at these churches, and they have to deal with nearly any type of situation, whether it is talking someone out of committing a crime or saving someone’s life.
The mega churches also deals with special needs people. They minister to those with special needs on a weekly basis. Volunteers also help out with this aspect of the ministry.
Helping the Homeless is not Just a Short-Term Stint
One of the primary goals of the church is to help those who are less fortunate than the rest of our society. These mega churches will go out and partner with certain group homes and they like in order to reach out and spread their message. Churches service the homeless by running drives to help them out with necessities such as clothing items and indigent packages.
There is also the basic need of food. This is where a lot of the volunteers come in and gather food and can goods to supply the homeless with something to eat and get them though the next day.
Many Members Equals Many Employees
You may notice that these mega churches bring in all types of money. Some of that money goes to the pastor and some of it goes to the operation of the church. A smaller church does not have to worry about paying extraneous employees such as baristas and personal trainers, but the mega church does. You may have, on average, about 250 full-time workers in a mega church and about ten to twenty assistant ministers.
In a smaller mega church, the amount that is taken in is about two million dollars per year. This is why it is so important to bring in new members and firmly retain the old members. It is essentially a corporation that is being run instead of a church.
Many Employees Equals Many Hours
With the gigantic amount of members that congregate in the mega church, there have to be some workers that put in some long hours in order to handle all of the operations of the church. When it is show time, you want to have all of your eggs in one basket.
As mentioned earlier, there are about 250 employees on average that work in these mega churches. You may think that this amount of workers is enough for the church, but it really is not. Most people who work in mega churches work over 50 hours a week, and that is just for starters. If a mega church has a special event, employees can kiss their free time goodbye.
Focus on the Bigger Picture When Attending Worship Services
The goal of the mega church should be to emphasize on the larger picture and the church culture as a collective. Many members have the financial means to support the church and are ready, willing, and able to put time into the church, whether it is to come as a worshipper of God or just volunteer their time. The main goal should be to look at things that need to be corrected, such as poverty issues and the like.
There should also be a focus on more children-based ministry as well in these mega churches. Being altruistic will trickle down to these children who will be the next generation of worshippers who come into and support these churches.
If the Church has Volunteers, Why Do They Need Employees?
There is a myth that is associated with mega churches and volunteers. Many of you may believe that such a big church has all of the volunteers it needs in order to accomplish their goals on a weekly basis. This is very far from the truth. The main goal is to have more volunteers that what they need. Why is this, you ask? Simply put, the mega church is in the business of adding new members and seeing tremendous growth.
If a church grows at a fast rate, it will need more volunteers to accommodate that growth. Most of the volunteers try to cover the positions that are empty because most of the church employees cannot cover them.
Teamwork is Key Among Staff Members
Staff members in these churches cannot be individualized if they intend on serving the needs of others. The church focuses on teams in order to embrace the church culture. The leaders in the church need teams in order to develop other leaders in the church.
There is time and money invested in these teams. Employees go to staff meetings to learn about the church culture and are constantly in a learning process. The church that tries to do everything and be everything to everyone will certainly fail and go out of business, so the team is there for support and guidance to keep the church standing.
The Ministry Has to Be Large Scale
Do you all see a common theme here for these mega churches? Do you see the “big” picture? Everything in the mega church is big, and so all of the elements of the church should focus on things that are big. One of the things that should be a focal point of the mega church is the ministry.
The ministry cannot focus on just themselves. Just because they are a minority does not mean they cannot reach the majority, which are the members. You then need to have training centers in order to be ministers for these mega churches. The goal of the minister is to also reach those who are spiritually lost as well and not just the ordinary congregation that attends on a regular basis.
The Size of the Church and Salary Go Hand-in-Hand
There is only one way that mega church employees get their salary, and that is by the size of the church. Anyone running a mega church will surely want that church to grow and expand. The center focus of many of the churches are to bring in more people.
In other words, mega churches mean mega salaries. The pay increase trickles down to the employees, and not just the pastor of that church, when the congregation expands.
The Largest Mega Churches Are in the Bible Belt
If you have any desire to work for a mega church, your best bet would be to move to the south. The Bible Belt, as it is so called, attracts many religious people. There has been a large association between churches and the southern portion of the United States. You have probably seen movies and television shows based on the south, and you more than likely will see a church either referenced or put into the work somehow.
The lowest salaries for people who work in mega churches are in the Midwest. According to a Gallup poll in 2012, eight out of ten of the highest paid mega churches were in the south.
Intentional Relationships Keep the Church Together
Getting to know your neighbor is an important feature in an ordinary church. When you know folks, your network of friends increases and your spiritual relationships can grow along with the bonding process. The key word in all of this is ordinary. Notice that I said in an ordinary church. Is it possible to get to know a lot of people when you go to a church that has on average about 2,000 or more members? It is nearly impossible to get to know a large amount of people that size.
The easiest way to get to know a lot of people in a mega church and form relations is to have intentional relationships. A simple “hi, how are you” will not do in this type of scenario. No one wants to go to a church that makes them feel uncomfortable around others. That person may leave that church, and loss of people means loss of income.
Get In Where You Fit In: Know Your Role
An individual who works in a mega church should never try to take on all of the work themselves. For instance, many churches hire daycare providers. Many of them teach the children and some of these churches have an abundance of kids since we are dealing with a church of about 2,000 (give or take). The average classroom in a school includes about twenty two students. Two or three hundred is way too many for one person to teach.
Mega churches focus on groups when it comes to taking care of children. There are also ministry groups that minister to the needs of the congregation. It is all about teamwork when it comes to doing your role.
Megachurches Aren’t For Everybody
While there are many advantages to attending a megachurch, such as having plenty of services to choose from and a lot of different groups available to join, this type of church is particularly prone to drama. Since there are so many people attending these services, it is very easy for cliques to form.
Yup, even churches can have the “cool kids.” This can be difficult for people who get anxious at social gatherings. Since megachurches have so many people in them, members tend to be more outgoing than in other churches as shy people often get scared off.
People Can Be Petty
Sadly, many people who go to megachurches really do treat the whole thing as a popularity contest. High pressure environments often bring out the worst in people, and attending a huge church week after week can be quite stressful. Many people worry about their appearance and portraying themselves in the best light, which often translates to them acting their worst.
It is a disheartening reality that some people are just nasty. This is true in churches, too. At such a large church, you are more likely to find such people in larger numbers simply because there is a larger group of people present.
The Music Can Be Loud
Music at a megachurch is definitely not for the faint of heart. Often, such services will feature full bands, and even crazy lighting and special effects. Music at a megachurch can take up a huge part of the service and can often be like going to a rock concert. A lot of churches feature contemporary music to draw in young members.
This can be daunting to people who are accustomed to laid back Sunday services featuring music song by a choir and accompanied by a piano or an organ. Megachurches definitely don’t do traditional, boring hymns. If you go to a megachurch, be prepared to rock and roll.
Bring Your Best Dance Moves
In addition to loud music, many megachurches feature a lot of moving and swaying. These aren’t the types of churches where you sit still in your pew and mouth along to the lyrics. Many megachurches encourage people to move to the music and let the power of the praise and worship overwhelm them.
There is often a lot of clapping and moving around to the music, and people tend to sing a lot more loudly than they would in more traditional services. It’s all part of the megachurch experience. It is also not uncommon to find praise and worship teams up front with choreographed movements to certain songs. The movement, along with the music, helps to foster a sense of community among church goers–making them more likely to stay in the church.
Megachurches are often in competition with each other. This is especially true if the churches are located near to each other. They might not announce the competition, but you can be sure that the church is working hard to not only keep its members and raise money, but to have more members and earn more money than neighboring churches.
While this can be a good thing in some scenarios, it often results in aggressive tactics. Some churches put a lot of pressure on their members to donate a lot of money. Many people feel so obligated to the church that they will then end up donating money that they cannot really afford.
Pastors Have to Have the Gift of Gab
Do you know anyone with the gift of persuasion? Do you know someone whose words sound as smooth as a toilet seat? Do you know someone who could talk a hungry bulldog off of the back of a meat truck? Then this type of individual is what mega churches look for in their flock leaders.
Individuals who were class presidents or captains of a sports team are the type of people who are needed at these mega churches. An extroverted pastor can bring members in and make them feel good with their gift of gab. Membership equates to money in these churches.
Bigger is Better in the Mega Church
You will see many things that you would not expect to see in an ordinary church. The mega church has additional amenities and perks that separate them from smaller churches. They include things such as coffee bars and thrift stores, and some even have gymnasiums. Going to a church like this is more like going to your local store or mall rather than a shrine. Have people come to worship in these types of churches or have they come to be entertained by the pastor?
These additional benefits exist in the church to bring in more members. More money is brought into these churches because of these extra things. Simply put, more members equals more cash.
More A Business Than A Church
Many people believe their church is just a place to meet on certain days, mostly on Sundays and Wednesdays, and that is it. A lot of individuals do not know what really goes on when it comes to operating their church, but much more than just worship occurs behind the scenes. A normal-size church employs a few employees, but a mega church has a huge number of employees that help with the operations of the organization.
The mega church differs in this way because it is more like a corporation than a church. You need to have business-minded people to make decisions and manage all of the cash that comes in from the members of a church.
Going From Small To Big Requires One Person
The congregation is thought to make up the church in many cases. The members are there to worship and also donate their good, hard-earned money. People seek comfort in God and want that spiritual fulfillment. The church is more than just building, it is made of people. Does a group necessarily make the church go from small to large? Not necessarily.
The one component that you may not have thought about is that the pastor of the church is the prime determinant in making the church larger or making it stay the same size. A charismatic preacher has more of a chance of making the church grow than a pastor who is not a “people person.”
Being On-Call is of the Utmost Importance
One person can address many people when all of them are sitting attentively and listening to their pastor. It is virtually impossible at a mega church for one pastor to talk to most of their members individually. 2,000 or more people is just overwhelming and most people like to speak directly to their pastors. There is a way around this, and that is through the staff themselves.
Most mega churches have what you call prayer lines. Instead of the pastor talking to the people, the on-call staff is just as important when it comes to being a substitute for the pastor. The church staff is there to give you a shoulder to lean on if you really need support.
Counselors Have Their Place in Mega Churches
Retaining members is of the utmost importance at the mega church. There are counselors who work at these churches who advise people on problems such as marriage issues and addictions. They deal with people face-to-face. Most individuals have a few problems and want to let a little stream out from time to time.
Other individuals deal with people by going out in public and interacting with them. Some people go out and minister to troubled people, and others go out and feed the homeless. All bases must be covered in order for the church to work efficiently.
You May Encounter Some Really Eccentric People At A Mega Church
Everyone runs into a person that may seem somewhat eccentric at some point. This is a part of life that we all have to deal with. There is a misconception about mega churches that everyone is rich and that life is just a bundle of roses. Many of us do not consider that ordinary people attend these churches also. A majority of the people who attend these churches are single folks.
There are also people that work as counselors at mega churches. Some individuals that attend religious services are fanatical in their beliefs, and some people like to take their spirituality to the limit. A lot of people want to find out the meaning of certain things in the bible also, which may lead to some out-of-the-ordinary individuals to attend these churches.
You’d Better Volunteer
Members of megachurches are often pressured to volunteer their time or services. This serves multiple purposes. On the one hand, it helps people feel more like they are part of the community and thus make them feel involved in the megachurch.
It also provides the church with some much needed free labor. Do not forget that most megachurches are very much businesses and they are looking to make a profit. The more free labor a megachurch can get, the more profit they make.
Volunteers are a win-win for megachurches. They get people to do work for free and the people also feel more involved in the church community, leading them to be more likely to stay in the church.
Finding A Niche
To help people keep from feeling left out, megachurches will often have smaller focus groups. These groups can be anything from youth groups, to groups for young single people, to support groups for widows or those going through divorce. These groups are meant to help people find a community within the community, and also to help members make friends.
The more a part of the church a person feels, the more likely they are to keep attending the church. Since many people do not like how overwhelmingly large such churches are, this really helps with the retention rates by keeping people interested.
Megachurches are often so big that they can not fit all of their services and activities into one building. Many megachurches are spread over sprawling campuses with different buildings that can include everything from church building to a school and even amenities you would not expect such as fitness centers and cafés.
Some churches have more than one location. This can be helpful for people who would have to commute a long way to get to a megachurch that they really like. More growth, however, means that churches need to keep making more and more money. If they have a bad year, it could mean that some of the buildings have to shut down.
Many megachurches do not start out that way. Sometimes, a smaller church will gain such a following and have so many people interested in its services that it will have to expand to keep up with the demand. The pitfalls along the way, however, can mean that these new megachurches lose sight of their original goals.
It can be very easy to lose track of priorities when a megachurch is worried about how to keep up with its expansions and how to bring in the larger amount of money that is necessary to keep the church operational. Sometimes, this can lead to a diminishment of quality in how the church is run.
Everything Is A Numbers Game
Just like other businesses, most megachurches are all about the bottom line. They need to turn a profit. In a huge church with a huge building employing a huge staff, this isn’t always as easy as it sounds. While small churches may be more concerned with things like making building repairs or purchasing a new organ, megachurches are looking to not just break even but to make a profit.
Think of it as a film with a huge budget. High production values mean more money needs to be spent. Since megachurches host a lot of events and elaborate shows, it takes more money to run these churches than to run smaller ones.
While you might be familiar with the phrase “poor as a church mouse,” that phrase does not really apply to mice in megachurches.Megachurches bring in a lot of money, and the more money they bring in, the bigger the payoff for the pastor of the church. While some people no doubt think this money is deserved since, after all, the pastor tends to be the biggest reason a megachurch profits, others believe that this indicates greed.
Some reports say that megachurch pastors earn an average of $147,000 per year. On the high end of the scale, pastors can be earning as much as $400,000 per year.
This does not take into account megachurches with pastors who also have their own television shows. Televangelists with hit TV shows stand to make even bigger bucks. Many of them are also authors of books and have other merchandise for sale.
It is not uncommon for such pastors to live in mansions and fly in private jets.
Joel Osteen turned his job as the pastor of a megachurch into a public speaking career. He now has an estimated net worth of over $40 million. He makes so much money that he no longer collects the $200,000 salary that his church pays.
A Multibillion Dollar Industry
Churches bring in billions of dollars per year in the United States. That’s right—billions. While many people who donate their money to churches and charities no doubt hope that it will go to help the poor or otherwise disadvantaged or be used for some good cause, a lot of that money goes to line the pockets of pastors and other church employees.
That is not to say that all megachurches are out to rip off their members, but more than one pastor has been known to get caught up in a scandal. Sadly, not all pastors really have the best interests of their church members at heart.
Small Church Pastors
Pastors of small churches make nowhere near as much money as pastors of megachurches. In fact, many of them barely eke out a living. As more and more people move away from small communities and into big cities, these small churches are slowly disappearing. Megachurches, however, are more than ready to take in new members—especially if they are willing to make large donations.
Megachurches will often prey on people who are insecure and take advantages of their weakness in order to draw a larger audience. Many pastors will make large promises to their members in order to get the to keep coming to church and investing their money.
A lot of megachurches operate almost like a pyramid scheme. Again, not all megachurches are like this, but unfortunately many of them are in the business of scamming people. These churches often promise miracles or good health or financial prosperity.
People believe that if they keep going to these churches and donating money they will eventually be rewarded with a miracle. Sadly, this is rarely the case. Many of these pastors will claim to be able to speak directly to God or have the power to heal the sick. Sometimes, they will have actors pretending to be afflicted with an ailment and then heal them in front of a large crowd to prove their power.
In fact, a lot of pastors have been revealed to be faking things in order to bring in more members and get more money. Big names like Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, and Kenneth Copeland have attracted criticism and controversy for their tactics. And Senior pastor Kong Hee, who leads Singapore’s City Harvest Church, was caught diverting $37 million in church money to fund a pop singing career for his wife.
It is important for anyone who is looking to join a megachurch to be wary of scam artists. If the pastor of a megachurch is promising something that sounds too good to be true, it probably really is too good to be true. There are many great megachurches out there that do not resort to taking advantage of their members, but it can often be difficult to tell the difference.
There are a lot of things that anyone who is interested in joining a megachurch should watch out for. If a church makes outrages promises or puts a lot of pressure on you to donate money, they probably do not have your best interests at heart.
Any church that requires you to donate a certain amount of money per year or to put in a certain amount of volunteer hours is probably not one you should join. It is best to look for a church that does not demand anything of you where the people seem to be welcoming and friendly.
A lot of people who are working in megachurches tend to get burned out. Since many megachurches are understaffed, this can lead to a lot of stress. It is especially stressful in churches that rely on volunteer assistance because if volunteers who are being counted on to do something get sick or can’t do a task that they were assigned, it falls on church employees to pick up the slack.
Most megachurch employees make nowhere near what the pastors make. Most of them make fairly average, and often even below average salaries. Many work a second job to make ends meet. Talk about a pay gap!
Don’t Be Scared
Despite the many drawbacks that can be found in a megachurch, it is not all bad. If you are interested in going to a megachurch, do not be scared off by worst-case-scenarios! There are many advantages in attending a megachurch. Many people like the flexible scheduling, because they can go to a service at a time of day that works with their busy lives.
Other people like the idea of being a part of a huge community. Many others love the live music or the social and recreational activities that are offered by large churches. A small church also provides better social activities for kids, an important aspect for parents who want their children to have like-minded friends.
Do What Works Best For You
Remember that what works well for a church may not work well for you. A church is supposed to be a welcome environment where you can be yourself. If you are getting caught up in the politics of how a megachurch is run or the drama surrounding your interactions with people, then the church may not be a good fit for you.
Watch out for the warning signs and use your best judgement. Ultimately, your church experience should be a positive one and if your megachurch isn’t meeting your needs you are under no obligation to keep attending it.