Neighborhood megachurch

Shepherd of the Hills in Southern California

After reading the research on booming Protestant megachurches and their senior pastors, I couldn’t help noting how my neighborhood megachurch and its lead pastor (an acquaintance for more than a dozen years) fit the trends.

Dudley Rutherford, senior pastor of the fast-growing, still-building Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch, California, recently turned 52—the average age of a megachurch pastor, according to recent studies. He was not the church’s founding pastor. He took over the pulpit after a church merger some 15 years ago, when he was one of three staff members. The congregation now has 136 paid staff and a $10 million annual budget.


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