List of the largest Protestant denominations
This is a list of the largest Protestant denominations. It aims to include sizable Protestant communions, federations, alliances, councils, fellowships, and other denominational organisations in the world and provides information regarding the membership thereof. The list is inevitably partial and generally based on claims by the denominations themselves. The numbers should therefore be considered approximate and the article an ongoing work-in-progress. Protestant bodies being considered in this article are divided into:
- transdenominational bodies with more than 50 million members
- international bodies with more than 10 million members
- national bodies with more than 5 million members
- non-national bodies with more than 5 million members
In 2010, the most numerous international bodies accounted for more than a half of worldwide Protestant population,[note 1] while the most numerous national bodies accounted for more than 200 of the world's 800 million Protestants.[note 2]
Transdenominational organisations are very large and often characterized by overlapping membership as opposed to international and national bodies. Some of the national groupings cannot be considered churches in mainstream Protestant ecclesiology even when they constitute a single denomination. A good example is the Evangelical Church in Germany, which differs denominationally and encompasses Lutheran, Reformed and United subchurches.
Lists of the largest Protestant bodiesEdit
Transdenominational bodies include people across all denominations that participate in a movement which goes beyond their Protestant branch, like Evangelicalism, the Charismatic movement, or the Neo-charismatic movement. These are of international scope.
The World Evangelical Alliance is so far the only major transdenominational evangelical Protestant organization that operates internationally. It represents 600 million Christians. The Porvoo Communion brings Lutherans and Anglicans in Europe under a common communion.
|World Evangelical Alliance||Evangelical||1846
Freemasons' Hall, London, England
|Secretary-General Efraim Tendero||New York City, United States||Worldwide||600,000,000||Aims to unite Evangelicals worldwide.|
Porvoo Cathedral, Porvoo, Finland
|Co-chairmen Bishop Peter Skov-Jakobsen,
Archbishop Michael Jackson
|None||Europe||50,000,000||Communion of Anglican and Lutheran denominations in Europe.|
International bodies tend to bring together only one Protestant branch which shares common founders, tenets and history. Among the most sizeable international bodies are the Anglican Communion, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the World Methodist Council and the Lutheran World Federation – each with more than 70 million members.
|World Communion of Reformed Churches||Reformed||2010||General Secretary Chris Ferguson||Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany||Worldwide||100,000,000||Brings together Calvinists from all over the world, and is the largest of such organizations.|
Lambeth Conference, London, England
|Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby||London, United Kingdom||Worldwide||85,000,000||Brings together Anglicans from all over the world, and is the largest of such organizations.|
|Lutheran World Federation||Lutheran||1947||General Secretary Martin Junge||Geneva, Canton of Geneva, Switzerland||Worldwide||75,000,000||Brings together Lutherans from all over the world, and is the largest of such organizations.|
|World Assemblies of God Fellowship||Pentecostal||1988||General Superintendent and Chairman Doug E. Clay||Springfield, Missouri, United States||Worldwide||68,000,000||Brings together a substantial Pentecostal population, although not the majority, as it is scattered in various independent Pentecostal denominations.|
|Baptist World Alliance||Baptist||1905||General Secretary Neville Callam||Falls Church, Virginia, United States||Worldwide||48,000,000||Brings together a substantial Baptist population, although not the majority, as it is scattered in various independent Baptist denominations.|
|World Methodist Council||Methodist||1881||General Secretary Bishop Ivan M. Abrahams||Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, United States||Worldwide||80,000,000||Brings together Methodists from all over the world, and is the largest of such organizations.|
Although there are "mostly national" denominations like the United Methodist Church (mainly concentrated in the United States), or denominations with dispersed membership like the Apostolic Church and the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) (both with membership dispersed around the world) that have a far larger membership than required to be on this list, they operate worldwide and cannot be considered alongside other national bodies like, for example, the Church of Christ in Congo, which operates solely in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is not active beyond that country's borders.
The Church of England, the Church of Christ in Congo, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, the Assembleias de Deus and the Evangelical Church in Germany constitute the most numerous national bodies with more than 20 million members each.
|Church of England||Anglican||1534[note 3]||Supreme Governor Queen Elizabeth II
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
|London, United Kingdom||England||26,000,000||The original denomination in England which broke off from the Roman Catholic Church following the controversy arising from the divorce of King Henry VIII from Catherine of Aragon without papal approval. It is the largest Protestant denomination in the world, and the largest Anglican denomination.|
|Church of Christ in Congo||Methodists
|1970||Bishop Pierre Marini Bodho||Kinshasa, Kinshasa Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo||Democratic Republic of the Congo||25,500,000||Its creation was largely state-supported in order to organize all Protestants of the Democratic Republic of Congo in a single denomination. The second largest Protestant denomination in the world, and the largest United Protestant denomination.|
|Three-Self Patriotic Movement||State-regulated theology
|Shanghai, China||China||23,000,000||It is the only Protestant denomination approved by the Chinese government. Its theology is regulated and controlled by the state.|
|Assembléias de Deus||Pentecostal||1911||General Superintendent José Wellington Bezerra da Costa||São Paulo, State of São Paulo, Brazil||Brazil||22,500,000||Fragmented into smaller units which together gather the vast majority of Brazilian Pentecostals. The largest Pentecostal denomination in the world.|
|Evangelical Church in Germany||Prussian United
|1948||Praeses of the Synod Irmgard Schwätzer
Chairman of the Council of the EKD Heinrich Bedford-Strohm
|Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany||Germany||21,100,000||Postwar, renewed church confederation founded to bring all German Protestants under one umbrella. Earlier, the German Evangelical Church Confederation fulfilled that role during the Weimar Republic. If not considered a federation of churches, it is the fifth largest Protestant denomination in the world, the second largest in Europe, and the second largest United Protestant denomination.|
|Born Again Movement||Evangelicals
Chinese house church
|1968||Henan, China||China||20,000,000||House church, not recognized by the Chinese government.|
|Church of Nigeria||Anglican||1979||Primate of all Nigeria, Archbishop of Abuja Province Nicholas Okoh||Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria||Nigeria||18,000,000||Local province of the Anglican Communion.|
|Southern Baptist Convention||Baptist||1845||President J. D. Greear||Nashville, Tennessee, United States||United States||14,800,000||The world's largest Baptist denomination, and the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.|
|Church of Uganda||Anglican||1897||Archbishop of Uganda and Bishop of Kampala Stanley Ntagali||Namirembe Hill, Kampala District, Uganda||Uganda||11,000,000||Local province of the Anglican Communion.|
Chinese house church
|1971||China||10,000,000||House church, not recognised by the Chinese government.|
|Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus||Lutheran||1959||Bishop Dr. Wakseyoum Idossa||Addis Ababa, Chartered city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia||Ethiopia||8,310,129||The world's largest Lutheran denomination.|
|China Gospel Fellowship||Evangelicals
Chinese house church
|1980s||China||8,000,000||House church, not recognized by the Chinese government.|
|National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.||Baptist||1880||President Dr. Jerry Young||Montgomery, Alabama, United States||United States||7,500,000||The second largest Baptist denomination in the world. It is considered a black church with its membership being largely African American.|
|Nigerian Baptist Convention||Baptist||1915||Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Adeniyi Ayokunle, President (and chief executive officer)||Ibadan||Nigeria||6,500,000||The world's third largest Baptist denomination.|
|Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania||Lutheran||1963||Bishop Dr. Fredrick Onael Shoo||Arusha, Arusha Region, Tanzania||Tanzania||6,500,000||The world's second largest Lutheran denomination.|
|Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden||Lutheran||1593||Archbishop of Uppsala Antje Jackelén||Uppsala, Uppsala County, Sweden||Sweden||5,900,000||The world's third largest Lutheran denomination, and the third largest Protestant one in Europe.|
|Anglican Church of Kenya||Anglican||1970||Jackson Ole Sapit||Nairobi, Nairobi County, Kenya||Kenya||5,000,000||Local province of the Anglican Communion.|
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (December 2017)
These denominations operate worldwide and cannot be considered alongside other national bodies.
Many sizeable non-national bodies happen to be Pentecostal. The list also includes the largest Adventist church (the Seventh-day Adventist Church), the largest Methodist church (the United Methodist Church) and the largest African initiated church (the Zion Christian Church) and the second largest Pentecostal denomination in the world, The Pentecostal Mission (TPM) or (New Testament Church/Universal Pentecostal Church/Ceylon Pentecostal Mission).
|Assemblies of God
||Pentecostal||1914/1988||George O. Wood||Worldwide||67,000,000||The world's largest Pentecostal denomination.|
|Seventh-day Adventist Church
||Adventist||1863||Silver Spring, Maryland, United States||Worldwide||20,727,347||The world's largest Adventist denomination. Brings together the vast majority of the world's Adventists.|
|The Apostolic Church
|Zion Christian Church
||African initiated||Southern Africa||15,000,000||The world's largest African initiated church with Anglican, Pentecostal and evangelical influences.|
|United Methodist Church
||Methodist||1968||Worldwide||12,000,000||The world's largest Methodist denomination.|
|International Circle of Faith
|International Church of the Foursquare Gospel
|Church of God in Christ
|Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee)
|Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide
- In this comparison, the Pew Forum's figure of 800 million Protestants is used. Mentioned international bodies together accounted for some 420 million people in 2010.
- In this comparison, the Pew Forum's figure of 800 million Protestants is used. Mentioned national bodies accounted for a little more than 200 million people in 2010.
- The English church can be traced back to 597. It separated from the Roman Catholic Church in 1534.
- "Pewforum: Christianity (2010)" (PDF). Pewforum.org. Retrieved 2014-05-14.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-03-15. Retrieved 2015-03-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- "About The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC)". World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC). Retrieved 6 September 2017.
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- "Baptist World Alliance". Bwanet.org. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
- "Member Churches". Worldmethodistcouncil.org. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
- "Church of England statistics 2011" (PDF). Churchofengland.org. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
- Communautés membres de l'ECC Vous êtes ici: Accueil > Infos > Communautés membres Mar, le 13 Septembre 2016
- "Eglise du Christ au Congo". Ecc.faithweb.com. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
- "Regional Distribution of Christians". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
- "Assembleia de Deus no Brasil é a maior do mundo". Fronteira Final. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
- "Zahlen und Fakten zum kirchlichen Leben 2019" (PDF). EKD. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
- "China's Dynamic Church". Christianity Today. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
- "Nigerian Anglicans May Control the Future of the Church". Thinkafricapress.com. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
- "SBC: Giving increases while baptisms continue decline". Baptist Press. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
-  Archived November 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
- God Is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World. Books.google.com. 2009-04-02. ISBN 9781101032411. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
- "New and Events". EEcmy.org. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
- "Authority of Scripture in China's Underground House Church". Biblereadingproject.com. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
- "About Us – The National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc". Nationalbaptist.com. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
- "ELCT Press Release". Elct.org. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
- Svenska kyrkan i siffror Svenska kyrkan
- "History". International Circle of Faith. Retrieved 2019-05-25.