List of the largest evangelical churches
This list of the largest evangelical megachurches contains only evangelical Christian megachurches related to the following currents: Baptist, Pentecostalism, the evangelical charismatic movement, neo-charismatic movement and Nondenominational Christianity, in a single place, and not the assistance of affiliated campuses. Large churches from other denominations, like Catholicism, are not included as they are not deemed to belong to the megachurch phenomenon which by definition is part of Protestantism. The list is not exhaustive, there are large annual changes, and there are difficulties to compare the churches as different methods to count can be used.
The Leadership Network contains a directory of all Christian megachurches of the world (excluding Canada and USA). This global list has over 270 megachurches. The Hartford Institute has compiled directories in Canada and the USA. The US list has more than 1,668 megachurches and the Canadian list 22.
The numbers reported are not accurate by any means, as attendance and membership may be defined very differently. Attendance may include people that are not legally members of the church, not baptised, non-believers, children, and may even belong to other churches. Some churches include their, sometimes loosely, affiliated churches in other places and even people that attend by electronic media. As many have several services on one day, there may be some overlap, with people attending more than one service. The exact number of people is seldom counted, thus estimation errors can occur. There is an obvious psychological boost from reporting growing numbers, "success", for enhanced credibility and motivation to support the work. The megachurches may quite be different from traditional evangelical congregations where clear membership records are maintained, to define who has legal right to vote in the church assembly, who can be appointed to public offices and who belongs to the flock under direct pastoral care, and the pastor can often be replaced. The megachurches are often formed around a strong leader that stays in charge for decades, it is often like his "own personal enterprise", many times with limited economic transparency, a tendency that has been questioned in various countries. In notable cases the headship has been passed on from father to son, like in Lakewood Church. Many megachurches have had an affiliation to a denomination, but have become independent, thus outside the denominational supervision that is common for non-independent congregations. Thus, in cases of irregularities, a pastor may continue without disciplinary measures, due to their sheer power, and any disappointed members may leave but new people keep coming in, with reduced effect on attendance.
Hence, due to inaccuracies, the same church can sometimes be reported to have attendance and membership counts that differ 5-10 times, depending on how reporting is done and who is doing it, e.g. Yoido Full Gospel Church can sometimes be mentioned with attendance numbers over 800,000.
The list below is of the largest Evangelical megachurches with weekly attendance of more than 30,000 people.
- Alicia Budich, cbsnews.com, From Megachurch to "Gigachurch", USA, April 6, 2012
- Ed Stetzer, Newspaper christianitytoday.com, Megachurch Research - Terminology, USA, October 9, 2008
- Ruth Gledhill, Newspaper Christian Today, Church growth: World's largest churches are getting bigger, USA, September 08, 2016
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- Lifeway research, Largest Churches List, outreachmagazine.com, USA, retrieved January 16, 2021
- Megachurches spread across the world - Leadership Network
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- Rick Noack, Lazaro Gamio, Newspaper washingtonpost.com, How US-style megachurches are Taking Over the World, in 5 maps and charts, USA, 24 July 2015
- Hartford Institute Megachurches of Canada Archived 2016-03-06 at the Wayback Machine, hartfordinstitute.org's website, USA, retrieved February 15, 2020
- Do Pastors Exaggerate Attendance Figures?
- Senator Probes Megachurches' Finances
- Controversial Megachurch Pastor Won't Discuss Finances Because of Jesus
- Are Prosperity Preachers Destroying the Traditional Black Church? A Review of 'Black Church Inc'
- Will Europe's Third-Largest Church Punish Pastor for Multiple Affairs?
- The Economist: O come all ye faithful
- "Ankur Narula Ministries -The Church of Signs and Wonders 4th Largest Church in World". May 8, 2020. Archived from the original on 2020-06-06.
- Sébastien Fath. Dieu XXL, la révolution des mégachurches. France: Édition Autrement, 2008.