“Megachurch”—like “McMansion” or “big-box store”—is a disdainful put-down. And like many put-downs it is not particularly accurate; very large churches have been around for a long time. Think Hagia Sophia, the Gothic cathedrals, or that Vatican megabasilica, St. Peter’s, which accommodates 60,000 worshipers. (The largest church in the world is an overscaled replica of St. Peter’s in Côte d’Ivoire, of all places.) What distinguishes the current crop of megachurches is not so much their size—none rivals St. Peter’s—but their different sense of architectural style.
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