Theology Thursdays: Mega Churches Equal Mega Economic Power

While many others are talking about African American economic development, at least some Black churches in America are becoming centers of economic growth in their communities.

The Washington, D.C.-based Taylor Media Services estimates Black church revenue in America last year stood at over $17.1 billion. And a series of media reports suggest that many of the churches are using the funds for rapid building and expansion.

Rev. T.D. Jakes' Potter's House is one of the largest Black Mega Churches in the country.

Churches are building apartment buildings and a wide range of other businesses. An investigative report last month in the Buffalo News concluded that Black churches in that city "are utilizing resources from government and non-profits to create economic engines." The Business Journal of Milwaukee headlined this past Friday that African American churches in that area were undergoing "a construction boom." And the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers (NABHOOD) concluded a July conference in Atlanta suggesting "Black churches are an increasing source for partners in the [hotel] business and cause for progress."

Negatively, however, many of the churches use their funds to simply build larger churches and do little to better surrounding communities. Still others move from inner city areas to suburban sites.

The Black church revenue estimate is based on a 1998 study reported by the Interdenominational Theological Center which found 70,000 Black churches in America with median yearly revenue of $200,000. Assuming only a modest growth in the number of churches and contributions which have at least kept pace with inflation, Black churches at the end of 2006 would have stood at $17.1 billion. The revenue estimate may be an under statement because at the time of the 1998 study, the growth of so-called Black Mega Churches (congregations of 5,000 to 30,000) was just beginning.

(source: Taylor Media Services)

Editor's Note: This article appearead at

Thursday, August 9, 2007