Megachurches have become one of the most powerful influences in mainstream media. With thousands of followers and millions viewing on television, the megachurch has become a powerhouse of its own. The biggest US Churches are teaching people about how to daily live. Many offer online programming and podcasts for their members to follow during the week. And many of their pastors are best selling authors on how to live a purposeful and fulfilling life. But what are the biggest US churches? And what part of the country will you find them? These are some of the numbers from Exploring-usa.com with regards to average weekly attendance that show you the biggest US Churches in the world.
Lakewood Church – Houston, TX
Average Attendance – 43,500
Started back in 1959 by Joel Osteen, Sr, Lakewood Church has become a megachurch powerhouse. It began with only a few members and a vision by the senior Osteen. Today the megachurch is led by Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria. Joel is seen as the positive preacher with the positive message. With little to no theological training, Joel Osteen worked his way up in the church alongside his father. When his father called him to preach just before his death, Joel was unsure. He did not feel that he was capable to build the church and keep the members like his father wanted. He has stated that he now teaches in a way that is comfortable for him and God has done the rest. The church meets in what was the former Houston Rockets soccer arena and has missions around the world. Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria preach prosperity teaching and he has several New York Times best seller books that guide people about living a good life. It is the largest of the US Churches in the world.
Northpoint Church – Alpharetta, GA
Average Attendance – 30,629
Northpoint Church is based in the more affluent Alpharetta area. Built in 1996, the pastor is the well known Andy Stanley. His name should ring bells as his father is the legendary Dr. Charles Stanley. While Andy worked alongside his father, he grew in theology. Working with his father gave him the foundation, tools and resources to begin on his own. It is said that after a falling out between the two, that Andy Stanley set out on his own. He has stated that he wants to focus on leadership development and not just expansion. Andy Stanley’s style of teaching is very contemporary and relates to what is going on and relevant in today’s society. The church is seen as one of the fastest growing US Churches in the state of Georgia.
Life Church – Edmond, OK
Average Attendance – 30,000
Founded in 1996 by Craig Groeschel, the church’s core Christian beliefs are based from the Evangelical Covenant Church. The church also has powerful internet presence where their complimentary Bible application has been downloaded more than 200 million times. In 2001 Metro Church merged with Life Church making it a multi site facility. The Metro Church is a non-denominational church which was a great fit for Life Church. While Oklahoma is one of the campuses, as of October 2020, the church boasts 36 churches at various locations across the nation, with most of them being in the Midwest. It is the largest of the US Churches in the state of Oklahoma.
Gateway Church – Southlake, TX
Average Attendance – 28,000
Gateway Church is a very prosperous church and a huge enterprise. In the past, it reported earnings in excess of over 218 million dollars. Founded in 2000 by Pastor Morris, the church is bible based and spirit empowered with programming around the world. Pastor Robert started life involved with drinking and slowly gave his life to the Lord. His progressive teachings can be found by followers and those who are looking for a church to call home. Pastor Morris works with his wife and they both do television programming to spread the good news. He has cleaned up his life and it is because he stated that Jesus came into his life/ His wife has stated that Pastor Morris is a good, open hearted man who has given away cars to some of his members. It is in the spirit of giving that Pastor Robert Morris says he will run his church. And though his church had been on good merit financially, most recently it has had to layoff staff because of the pandemic crisis. They have recently come to a place where they meet in multiple locations as one church, while experiencing more than 100,000 people total on weekends. I’ve personally visited Gateway church and walked away impressed. If you are a car guy like me, you will notice a lot of trucks with banks performance parts installed, so I know they have like-minded membership.
Willow Creek Church – Barrington, IL
Average Attendance – 25,000
Founded on October 12, 1975 by Dave Holmbo and Bill Hybels , Willow Creek Community Church is a non-denominational, evangelical church located on the northwestern side of Chicago. They have seven locations around the Chicago area with their Spanish speaking congregation meeting in the Barrington area. In 2018, the church’s entire elder board and senior pastors resigned amid allegations of mishandling an abuse case within the church. Steven Gillen, the North Shore campus pastor was named head pastor during this time. In January 2020, Pastor Gillen announced that he would be stepping down and the search for pastors would continue. Willow Creek Church began in the Willow Creek Theatre and uses relevant biblical teachings. music and drama in guiding their members and guests.
Fellowship Church – Grapevine, TX
Average Attendance – 24,200
Fellowship Church is associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, which is one of the largest in the nation. Their goal is often to bring a larger audience through unorthodox teachings. The creator of the movement Pastor Ed Young, has started a controversial debate about gender with his book “Sexperiment”. Pastor Young has a simplistic style of preaching his message which seems to be more relatable to his viewership. Since 1990, the church has grown from just 30 families to campuses in Miami, Dallas/Fort Worth and Norman, Oklahoma. Over the past 10 years, the church has been ranked as one of the most consistently growing churches in North America. Pastor Ed Young has also authored several books revolving around parenting, marriage and Christian living. This is another great one of the US Churches in the Texas area.
Christ’s Church Valley – Peoria, AZ
Average Attendance – 23,300
Christ’s Church Valley was founded in 1982 by Pastor Don Wilson in his living room. He kept the church going by renting a film theater for his parishioners. The church was finally able to find permanent residency in 1996. But it came with a price of having to raise 1 million dollars in one day to purchase the land. The church is the largest non-denominational church in Arizona, playing host church to several other locations in the area.
In 2004, the church moved into their church building of 4500 seats. And in 2006, an attached CVV building was built for their children and youth ministry.
New Spring Church – Anderson, SC
Average Attendance – 23,000
Deemed the largest church in South Carolina, New Spring has 15 campuses in the area. It is a part of the Southern Baptist Convention which is one of the largest in the country. The church offers what is called the Fuse ministry which helps families in understanding their dynamics within the home. These are often done online every Wednesday. You may watch with a Fuse Group or with your family. New Spring is a church that is working with what is required by the Centers for Disease Control. They ask their guests and members to wear a mask, to social distance and wash their hands. They also ask that they stay in limited, familial groups to minimize the spread of the Coronavirus. This is one of the US Churches that is housed within the bible belt of the south.
Elevation Church – Matthews, NC
Average Attendance – 22, 200
It is one of the most well known and familiar churches in the world. With Pastor Steven Furtick, the name Elevation does not begin to speak to what this church has done. The church has gone global with online and television programming around the world. Pastor Furtick is young and brings people of all ages including youth to the pulpit. He is a progressive preacher who speaks in simple terms for his guests and members to relate. The church was created in 2006, when Steven Furtick was in his mid-twenties. Since that time he has made coming to church cool for a lot of young people. The church has a dynamic youth ministry and has undergone huge growth in Charlotte, North Carolina all the way to Toronto, Canada. Steven Furtick also brings millions into his sermons with his E- family podcasts. Elevation is seen as one of the most youthful US Churches.
Church of Highlands – Birmingham, AL
Average Attendance – 22,100
Founded on February 4, 2001, by Chris Hodges, the church is considered the largest and greatest church in Alabama. Hodges has used nearby Highlands College for ministry training. The church started with 34 people until 2007 when it opened a main building that offered 2400 seat capacity. The church is associated with the Association of Related Churches, a membership not quite as large as the Southern Baptist Convention. The Church of Highlands is non-denominational and offers multi-site training and teaching. This is another one of the US Churches housed in the bible belt.
Saddleback Church – Lake Forest, CA
Average Attendance – 22,000
Saddleback Church started with its members and guests worshipping under a tent. They were not able to get a building permit until the 1990’s. The building went up while the church grew to over 10,000 attendees per week. They are non-denominational and have expanded worldwide throughout southern California, Manila, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires and Berlin. They are associated with the Southern Baptist Convention which is one of the largest in the world. Saddleback Church is one of those US Churches that offers the community the real deal. The senior pastor of Saddleback is Rick Warren. He and his wife Kay founded the church when he was just 26 years old. He is now just known as Pastor Rick. He has written several best sellers, including, “The Purpose Driven Life.” The book was on the New York Times Best selling list for over 90 weeks and sold over 32 million copies within the first 10 years of its creation.
Southeast Christian Church – Louisville, KY
Average Attendance – 21,700
Founded in 1962, the church is the largest in Kentucky. Starting with just over 50 members, the church has 14 other sites. The church offers Se!KidsOnline for your children to worship, read bible lessons and sing from a video. It is entertaining and gives kids something to do while the adults have their time. The Southeast Christian Church has many ministries to choose from that include; deaf and disabilities, foster care, seniors, single, middle school, high school, college age, men, women, family, children and community engagement. The church offers live streaming for your benefit.
Central Christian Church – Henderson, NV
Average Attendance – 21,055
The Central Christian Church is all about bringing in those that may be lost about spirituality. It seeks those who are not normal church goers but are seeking to be better. The church seeks to show those who may not go to church, how different a spiritual framework can be. Pastor Jud Wilhite is the senior pastor and also a best selling author. His approach to teaching the world of Chris is simplistic and in a conversational tone. The church wants to introduce people to Jesus and show them what he can do in changing their life for the better. They have live and on demand sermons that allow them to reach the world. It is one of the better US Churches that seeks to work within the community and streets rather in the four walls of church.
Dream City Church – Phoenix, AZ
Average Attendance – 21,000
Founded in 1923 by John Eiting, Dream City Church is made up of the large community within Phoenix. In 1979 Tommy Barnett became the Senior Pastor with Luke Barnett taking over as Senior Pastor in 2011. The church became a multi-site church in 2015 with the opening of the Scottsdale site. In 1994, the church founded the Dream Center which works in the community to do away with hunger and other ills of society. They have a food bank, assistance programs, a clothing bank, and other programs for combating domestic violence, human trafficking and drug addiction.
These are the biggest US Churches. They each have the love of spirituality and Jesus Christ in common. They each owe a debit to the community. They are on television, online programming and podcasts with special programs for children, youth, men, women, families and the community at large. As you can see, many of these US Churches are in the states of Texas and Florida. Many of their Senior Pastors are well known best selling authors, conference speakers and spiritual giants who teach from the pulpit but reach millions daily. This is what these U S Churches represent to an individuals, families and the world.