Reflections on the American Megachurch and the Obligations of Leadership

Collected wisdom from Andy Stanley, Craig Groeschel, Rick Warren, Miles McPherson and others

For more than a decade, Outreach magazine has benefited from its connection with thought leaders and practitioners in both Small Church America and the American Megachurch. Pastors and leaders that are thoughtfully engaged in ministry—reflective on the ups and downs of their experience—gain wisdom invaluable not only in their own context, but priceless for the rest of us as we learn from them.

So from issue to issue, we publish church-tested ideas for any church, any size, and present stories that offer inspiration and perspective on the ministry concerns we all face. And each issue is anchored with The Outreach Interview, providing thoughtful conversations with established and emerging leaders.

What we’ve noticed over the years is that these conversations tend to be both timely and timeless, contemporary and enduring. In this feature, we revisit conversations with seven high-profile leaders in the American megachurch experience. Read more in the Interview section »

“We’re here to see life change happen.”


I love casting vision. We work hard to build it into the rhythm of our organization—times when we come back to it over and over.

The things that an organization celebrates—as we do with baptism—are what the organization values. I tell leaders all the time, “You want to internalize your values in the organization? Just start celebrating what you value.” People will value what you celebrate, and they will celebrate what you value. So the fact that we have turned baptism into such a central celebration every other Sunday in all of our churches says to people this is what we’re here to do. We’re here to see life change happen.

From Outreach Magazine  Answering the Question Behind the Questions People Ask You

It’s one thing to do a vision-casting talk. It’s another thing to build a celebration around those points of vision that an organization thinks are most important.

One of my favorite quotes that sits on my shelf in my office is from Al Ries in a marketing book called Focus. He says, “The next-generation product never comes from the previous generation.” His point is, whatever’s next is going to be created by the next generation.

Our job now is to continue to invest in the 30-something men and women who are the age we were when we started. We need to keep our ear to the ground, and we need to look at who’s messing with the rules around the edges, and invest in them, because we are not going to figure it out. We may, but we should not create a model or a vision or an approach to ministry on the assumption that because we figured it out in the late ‘80s, we’re going to figure it out in the 2000s. So we’re done. We’re here to facilitate the success of this next generation.