The Missional Megachurch


A Bright Future      


While this article doesn’t prove that all megachurches are on the right track, it certainly points out that not all of them are egomaniacs. Many are stepping into these five key missional realms and using their vast resources to touch lives in practical ways and share the Gospel.


Remember that smaller, niche churches don’t have a monopoly on missional. People are drawn by the authentic Gospel lived out through both large and small bodies. You don’t have to wear Birkenstocks to be about God’s mission—you can even do it from a very large church.


As we survey the future of megachurches, we should have a sense of hope and excitement. The churches of tomorrow are truly making a difference in building God’s Kingdom and living as the body of Christ in their communities. And their communities, the body of Christ, the world, and the Gospel all are better off because of their efforts.


Making Moves Toward Missional


Not a megachurch? You can still take your church into the five missional realms of the future.


Community Transformation

Take steps toward community transformation by assessing the needs of your city and matching them with special skills of your members. Do your people have expertise in social issues, or do they care about the environment? Do they love investing in children’s lives or helping local law enforcement? Find and research civic organizations that serve in those areas. Contact them and get involved in what they’re doing, such as mentoring programs, family shelters, and after-school tutoring. By creating lasting relationships, you can double your resources and reach.


Global Ministry

Partner with nongovernmental organizations that have pre-existing networks abroad, such as World Vision (, Compassion International (, Samaritan’s Purse (, or Blood Water Mission ( Either conduct an event in your community, such as a concert or a silent auction, to raise money to send to your organization directly, or find a cause that resonates with your congregation, such as caring for AIDS orphans in Rwanda or the prevention of sex trafficking in Thailand, and organize ongoing outreach initiatives.


Apostolic Networking

Find a purpose for neighboring churches to rally around, whether it be praying for your city, planting new churches, or educating at-risk youth. Contact your denomination for a list of churches in your region. If you’re non-denominational, research church listings by city or state, and invite them via letter or e-mail to make a one-year commitment to join you in your efforts. Meet monthly to pray, strategize, share ideas, and build relationships for church unity and community betterment.


Church Multiplication

Create a church multiplication strategy to promote Kingdom—not just your individual church’s—growth. Consider planting a daughter church in a nearby city with the support of your congregants. If church planting is not in your immediate future, support other churches’ efforts by encouraging members to attend other ministries’ activities. Avoid hoarding new members and encourage visitors to check out churches that best suit their personal needs and interests. By supporting and encouraging other churches’ growth, you are building the Kingdom.


Disciple Making

Go to the next level with holistic disciple making. Create apprenticeship groups that partner experienced church leaders with younger believers. Ensure that apprentices learn how church leaders do ministry by having them shadow the church leaders as they serve in their personal ministries in the community. With this kind of hands-on experience, younger believers can learn the importance of holistic Christian living that integrates service with faith.   

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Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., is the Dean of Talbot School of Theology at Biola Univeristy and Scholar in Residence & Teaching Pastor at Mariners Church. He has planted, revitalized, and pastored churches; trained pastors and church planters on six continents; earned two master’s degrees and two doctorates; and has written hundreds of articles and a dozen books. He is Regional Director for Lausanne North America, is the Editor-in-Chief of Outreach Magazine, and regularly writes for news outlets such as USA Today and CNN. Dr. Stetzer is the host of "The Stetzer ChurchLeaders Podcast," and his national radio show, "Ed Stetzer Live," airs Saturdays on Moody Radio and affiliates.