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  • Print publication year: 2009
  • Online publication date: July 2012

27 - The Megachurch Phenomenon: Reshaping Church and Faith for the Twenty-First Century



On its first service on 27 February 2000, Rock Church of San Diego, California, drew 3,300 participants. This church, founded by a former football player for the San Diego Chargers, Miles McPherson, sprang into existence as a megachurch at its initial worship service. Less than a decade later, the church draws more than 12,000 to attend its five Sunday services and countless activities. Rock Church meets in a nearly 300,000-square-foot converted naval training building situated in the midst of an exclusive residential area of Point Loma and the Liberty Station shopping district. This multimillion-dollar renovated space houses a Christian school, a bookshop, a restaurant, offices, and a state-of-the-art 3,500-seat sanctuary with a remarkable sound system, described as the most technologically advanced venue in San Diego. Miles McPherson is a charismatic communicator of the gospel. Miles’ sermons combine self-effacing humor and biblical narratives to relate an evangelical message in everyday language that is both effective and appealing. As a young college-age woman commented, “This is a place I can bring my friends to and they’ll like it.”

With various naval facilities and four major colleges and universities less than ten miles away, there is a strong youthful orientation to the congregation as a whole, with the majority of attendees between twenty and thirty-five years of age. This is reinforced both in the themes of the sermons and especially in the types of activities and small groups offered, including rock climbing, 4×4ing, motorbiking, sea kayaking, downtown art shows, and clubs such as surfing, island dancing, skateboarding, and martial arts.

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The Cambridge History of Religions in America
  • Online ISBN: 9781139195416
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