Coaching the Megachurch
There will always be voices that rise above the din in Christianity and those voices will attract large congregations. The larger the influence the more likely a coach is involved. 

Written By Gary Reinecke

ICF Master Certified Coach, Resource Designer, Mission Strategist : InFocus

A current opinion in American Christian circles is that the age of the megachurch is waning or even over. With the platform growing beyond the pulpit and onto streaming and social media, the truth is there will always be a megachurch and chances are it will go global. 

Should ‘megachurch’ be the goal? No. The work of making disciples is personal. For every ‘Mega’ Pastor there are thousands of men and women in the trenches making huge contributions to the Kingdom on a seemingly small stage. 

Perspective on Global Church Growth

The top 10 largest churches globally range from 65,000 in worship attendance and peak at 480,000 (Yoido Full Gospel Church in South Korea).  It is fascinating that with all the sophistication of the American church, not one is located in the US.  The top 10 largest congregations are located in Nigeria, India, Indonesia, Korea, and the Philippines.  

For perspective, the largest church in America is North Point at 35,000 in Alpharetta, GA.*

What do you know about the megachurch in America?

  • 0.5% – While almost 10% of Protestant church goers attend a megachurch (2,000+ in weekly worship attendance), these churches represent only about half of one percent of the roughly 320,000 Protestant churches that exist in the United States.**

Why do American churches hit a lower attendance ceiling?

This is obviously a loaded question.  The answer would involve a grocery list of complex issues.  However, one issue stands out that negatively impacts the health of the church in America.  Based on research from Natural Church Development America, the #1 health restricting area is Empowering Leadership.

How many leadership books do you have on your bookshelf?  It is ironic that we have so much information and knowledge on leadership yet the American church trails the developing world in church growth.  We can justify this with very reasonable explanations but the fact remains – our largest churches are a fraction of the size when compared to the global landscape.

3 Things to consider when coaching pastors of a megachurch

coaching the pastor of a megachurch

When coaching a large church lead pastor there are some unique considerations that are worth investing time and energy into if you are motivated to coach clients in this arena.

1. Know yourself

This might seem obvious.  You have a certain comfort level.  If you are comfortable working with clients who lead 500-member churches and you are content; keep working with leaders of this caliber.  If you aspire to work with megachurch pastors then you might want to consider the following.  

Consider the type of church leader you gravitate towards.  The leaders might be of a certain theological persuasion, a particular context, or style.  The clearer you are on who you are uniquely gifted to coach the more aware you will be when you encounter leaders of your tribe.  

Key Question:

What are the common denominators that cause you to gravitate towards certain leaders?

2. Become a subject expert

What are the common needs really large churches share?  Based on the NCD research, Empowering Leadership is an issue that creates a ceiling for the majority of congregations in the US.  The question then for you is, how can you increase your ability to coach leaders in this area?

Consider doing a deep dive on an aspect of leadership development.  For megachurches, hiring the right staff member is mission critical.  So much is on the line – time, money, opportunity.  One resource that helps in the hiring process is the Harrison Assessment.  You probably have your own “go-to” resources.  Become well-versed in that area and be ready to offer your services in your area of expertise.  

Key Question:

What leadership topics do large churches face that you resonate with and have expertise?

Specializations for coaching really large churches:

  • Leadership Development
  • Staffing
  • Supervision
  • Change Management
  • Succession planning

3. Find opportunities to connect

Megachurch pastors flock together.  Like the statistics reveal, the median church in the U.S. has 75 regular participants in worship.  Currently there are 1,750 megachurches in the United States, according to church lists compiled by Leadership Network. ** 

Therefore, the leader of a church of 2,000 or more in weekly worship attendance is a unicorn in the American church landscape.  

“Excellence, choices, openness to change, low pressure seeker environments, being multicultural, creating a full-service family support system, church planting, faith-based holistic ministries and providing R&D to the broader church” are distinctives that draw like-minded leaders of very large churches together and forge bonds.  

It makes sense and is a not-well-kept secret that large church pastors network with other large church pastors.

Key Question:

How and where do lead pastors of really large churches gather? 

Grow as a Megachurch Coach

Here are some reflection questions to grow your ability to coach pastors of megachurches:

  1. How can you build your track record to gain credibility?
  2. How are you growing in your knowledge of large church culture?
  3. Who do you know that coaches pastors of very large churches?
  4. How can you connect with the kind of leaders you want to coach?
  5. Historically, what size church are you comfortable coaching?
  6. Which phase of the growth cycle are you most authentically effective?
  7. What is holding you back?

Christian Coaching Essentials Cohort

  • Are you new to coaching?  
  • Do you need to refresh your coaching process?
  • Who do you know that needs to be trained?


Christian Coaching Excellence Cohort

  • Are you ready to grow your coaching?  
  • Do you need to refine your coaching skills?
  • Who do you know that needs to be trained?


Photo by Matthew Ball on Unsplash

Cover Photo by Shaun Frankland on Unsplash

Healthy, Effective Teams

In the short term, an unhealthy team may be able to get things done. But there will be a time when they can no longer hold it together. When that happens, any progress made is lost. Here are 5 qualities of healthy, effective teams and how to coach your leader to build them. 

The Volunteers Pastors Need

Volunteers are at the core of getting ministry done and moving vision forward. Recruiting and training volunteers can be a full time job… and everything can still fall apart. Here’s how to coach your ministry leaders to spot, train, and mobilize volunteers that get the job done and come back to serve again. 

Is your client working with an unhealthy team?

Recruiting volunteers has always been a touchy ministry subject. But since the pandemic recruiting and keeping volunteers and lay leaders necessary to run a ministry has become increasingly difficult. Here’s 5 reasons why. 

Coaching through Scandal

If you stay in the coaching game long enough, at some point you will coach leaders on how to deal with division in the body, disciplinary issues, and, well, scandal. Sadly, these issues are a part of life. As a coach, you have an opportunity to help leaders rise above the problem and take the higher ground.

Getting revitalization right 

Your client’s church is in a slump. Whether it’s just a feeling or a steadying decline in attendance the word that is in the back of your head is revitalization. It’s clearly time to do something new. Here are 4 revitalization strategies to help your client make the right changes.

Set effective—and reachable—goals 

Your client has a big vision. To help them see that vision become reality means strategically breaking up that vision into manageable goals. Easier said than done…

Is your board functioning well?

Being stuck with a dysfunctional board can feel like a being out to sea, alone on a sailboat, without wind. You can’t get anywhere and it feels like there is nothing you can do about it. But there is!

Is timidity in the way? 

Timidity can feel like a major obstacle to overcome. The good news is that assertiveness is a skill that can be learned. Here’s a good place to start.

Level Up To Transformational Learning 

Your goal as a coach is greater than the tasks at hand. Excellent coaching moves a client through reflection to action to transformational learning. 

How good are you at time management… really? 

You’ve thought it. You might even recall (with a pit in your stomach) of a time you’ve been told to “get your priorities straight”. We’ve all been there. Either way, it’s a red flag that you aren’t managing your time well. The good news is, prioritizing is the first step in the right direction.