List of the largest evangelical churches

This list of the largest evangelical megachurches contains evangelical Christian megachurches by weekly attendance. 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.

Characteristics edit

The term megachurch is used for churches with regular attendance of 2,000 people. When it has more than 10,000 people who gather together, the term gigachurch is sometimes used.[1][2][3]

Research institutes edit

Annual publications edit

Outreach Magazine is a magazine which publishes annually a list of evangelical Christian megachurches in USA.[4]

Directories edit

The Leadership Network contains a directory of all Christian megachurches of the world (excluding Canada and USA).[5] 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[6][7] and the Canadian list 22.[8]

Data accuracy edit

The numbers reported are not accurate by any means, as attendance and membership may be defined very differently.[9] 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[citation needed], 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.[10][11][12] 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.[13]

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.[14]

List edit

The list below is of the largest Evangelical megachurches with weekly attendance of more than 30,000 people.

Name Association Denomination City Country Average
weekly
attendance
Yoido Full Gospel Church Assemblies of God Pentecostalism Seoul South Korea 480,000[5]
Calvary Temple No Nondenominational Christianity Hyderabad India 330,000[15]
Nginden Bethany Church Bethany Indonesian Church Charismatic Christianity Surabaya Indonesia 140,000[5]
Victory (church) Every Nation Churches Nondenominational Christianity Manila Philippines 80,000[5]
New Life Fellowship Association New Life Fellowship Association Nondenominational Christianity Mumbai India 70,000[5]
Deeper Life Bible Church No Pentecostalism Lagos Nigeria 65,000[5]
Christ's Commission Fellowship Christ's Commission Fellowship Nondenominational Christianity Pasig Philippines 55,000[5]
Lakewood Church No Nondenominational Christianity Houston United States 52,000[3]
Church of the Highlands No Nondenominational Christianity Birmingham United States 52,000[6]
Faith Tabernacle Living Faith Church Worldwide Charismatic Christianity Lagos Nigeria 50,000[5]
Igreja Batista da Lagoinha Convenção Batista Nacional (Baptist World Alliance) Baptist Belo Horizonte Brazil 50,000[5]
Mision Cristiana Elim Internacional No Pentecostalism San Salvador El Salvador 50,000[5]
Redeemed Christian Church of God No Pentecostalism Lagos Nigeria 50,000[5]
Comunidad Cristiana Agua Viva No Charismatic Christianity Lima Peru 42,000[5]
New Life Assembly of God General Council of the Assemblies of God of India (Assemblies of God) Pentecostalism Chennai India 40,000[5]
North Point Community Church No Nondenominational Christianity Alpharetta United States 38,589[4]

See also edit

References edit

Citations edit

  1. ^ Alicia Budich, cbsnews.com, From Megachurch to "Gigachurch", USA, April 6, 2012
  2. ^ Ed Stetzer, Megachurch Research - Terminology, Christian Today, USA, October 9, 2008
  3. ^ a b Ruth Gledhill,Church growth: World's largest churches are getting bigger, Christian Today, USA, September 08, 2016
  4. ^ a b Outreach Magazine, 2023 Largest Participating Churches, outreach100.com, USA, retrieved November 2, 2023
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Megachurches spread across the world - Leadership Network
  6. ^ a b Hartford Institute Database of megachurches in the US Archived 2016-04-29 at the Wayback Machine, hartfordinstitute.org's website, USA, retrieved February 15, 2020
  7. ^ Rick Noack, Lazaro Gamio, How US-style megachurches are Taking Over the World, in 5 maps and charts, washingtonpost.com, USA, 24 July 2015
  8. ^ Hartford Institute Megachurches of Canada Archived 2016-03-06 at the Wayback Machine, hartfordinstitute.org, USA, retrieved February 15, 2020
  9. ^ Do Pastors Exaggerate Attendance Figures?
  10. ^ Kathy Lohr, Senator Probes Megachurches' Finances, npr.org, DECEMBER 4, 2007
  11. ^ JESSILYN LANCASTER, Controversial Megachurch Pastor Won't Discuss Finances Because of Jesus, charismanews.com, November 12, 2015
  12. ^ Nicola Menzie, Are Prosperity Preachers Destroying the Traditional Black Church? A Review of 'Black Church Inc', christianpost.com, June 24, 2014
  13. ^ Jeremy Weber, Will Europe's Third-Largest Church Punish Pastor for Multiple Affairs?, christianitytoday.com, USA, May 17, 2016
  14. ^ "O come all ye faithful". The Economist. Special Report on Religion and Public Life. 3 November 2007. p. 6. Retrieved 5 November 2007.
  15. ^ Michael Brown, How one church In India provided more than 3 million meals during the pandemic, christianpost.com, USA, 26 mai 2020

Sources edit

Further reading edit

  • Sébastien Fath. Dieu XXL, la révolution des mégachurches. France: Édition Autrement, 2008.