The Largest Megachurches In The US (2024)

Churches with more than 2,000 members fall under the classification of "megachurches." In the United States, megachurches are distributed across various cities. According to data from Hartford Institute, about 1,650 churches qualify to be classified as megachurches. For clarification, a megachurch refers to the high number of congregants in a church and not the physical size of the church.

Many of the largest megachurches have multiple locations and host multiple events a week, although some operate out of a single location. For example, events on different days of the week are how Pastor Osteen's Lakewood Church achieves 45,000 attendees per week despite a maximum capacity of 16,000 at its only site in Texas.

How Many Christians Are In The World?There are an estimated 2.2 billion Christians in the world, which makes Christianity the largest religion on the planet.

US Megachurches Ranked By Weekly Attendance

RankChurchAverage weekly attendance
1Gateway Church, TX100,000
2Life.Church, OK85,000
3Church of the Highlands, AL60,000
4North Point Community Church, GA50,000
5Lakewood Church, TX45,000
6Eagle Brook Church, MN43,000
7Southeast Christian Church, KY40,000
8Christ's Church of the Valley, AZ35,000
9Crossroads Church, OH35,000
10Saddleback Church, CA28,000

Gateway Church, TX - 100,000 Weekly Attendees

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In 2000, Gateway Church held its first service in a hotel on Easter morning. One hundred eighty people attended. Momentum came quickly for this non-denominational charismatic group, and after several moves and the construction of its permanent facilities, Gateway estimates a weekly total of 100,000 attendees—the church has a passion for establishing ministries in various prisons and designates those locations as 'campuses' which certainly impacts the estimated weekly attendance.

Robert Morris has been the senior pastor of this megachurch for the last 24 years, and the worship band regularly releases successful music through a commercial record label, such as the album Walls in 2015.

Life.Church, OK - 85,000 Weekly Attendees

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With an initial member count in 1996 of barely 40 congregants in a two-car garage, Life.Church has grown to 30 campuses in cities across the United States, purposed by an evangelical confession of faith. Satellite video teaching is one of the mediums that attendees used to engage with the church's community, a practice starting as early as 2003.

This use of technology to reach a wider audience continues to this day, with the church's apps and books becoming successful through distributors like In the public eye, Life.Church is remembered for mobilizing donations and volunteer efforts toward events like the tornado disasters that occurred in Moore, Oklahoma, around 2013.

Church of the Highlands, AL - 60,000 Weekly Attendees

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The early 2000s evangelical boom also gave rise to the Church of the Highlands in Alabama; Chris Hodges and 34 others began the organization in 2001. Six years later, the group established a 2,400-person capacity building, and today, the church welcomes 60,000 attendees.

One of the church's recent projects, "The Lodge at Grants Mill," focuses on providing a sanctuary for pastors in need of rejuvenation in order to combat an ongoing 'burn-out' epidemic. Regarding spread, 25 of the primary campuses are located throughout Alabama, although there is an additional one southwest of Atlanta, Georgia.

North Point Community Church, GA - 50,000 Weekly Attendees

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Services at North Point, like many multi-site megachurch organizations, occur both online and in-person at each of its eight metro Atlanta locations. The statement of ministry, since 1995, is essentially "creating churches that unchurched people love." For a closer look at what that means, the Browns Bridge Church branch offers podcasts, live music, children's services, and counseling and sets up local and global volunteering opportunities.

Throughout the growth of this interconnected organization, North Point Community Church has added seven pastors to work alongside Founder and Senior Pastor Andy Stanley, who initiated the church in 1995.

Lakewood Church, TX - 45,000 Weekly Attendees

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Lakewood Church is frequently a topic in US media, which points toward the cultural impact that megachurches can have in wider society. Lakewood was originally started in a tent around 1959 by John Osteen and reached an attendance of 5,000 by 1979. After John's passing in 1999, Joel Osteen, John's son, assumed the position of senior pastor.

The biggest appeal to its members, which grew "five-fold" under Joel's leadership, is the many services that are offered to families and visitors alike. Diversity is one of Lakewood's strengths, as seen in its attendees, who often come from a more global background and enjoy services tailored to languages like Spanish.

Eagle Brook Church, MN - 43,000 Weekly Attendees

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Similar to Lakewood, Eagle Brook Church was founded over sixty years ago in 1948, blossoming out of a house Bible Study community. Still, by 1991, the group consisted of less than 500 members. Rapid growth occurred in the early 2000s following the group's relocation from White Bear to Lino Lakes, and multiple campuses were opened shortly after, such as Spring Lake Park.

Similar to Life.Church's 2003 satellite teaching, Eagle Brook shared its Lino Lakes services with other campuses through simulcasting. Theologically, Eagle Brook is non-denominational but aligns many of its values with Converge, a Baptist organization.

Southeast Christian Church, KY - 40,000 Weekly Attendees

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Although the official website claims an attendance of "almost 40,000," a report in 2022 hints at potentially 50,000 weekly attendees due to 19 thousand online congregants, alongside 31 thousand in-person; furthermore, this church appears to be growing thanks to several new sites being built or initiated since 2019.

In total, Southeast Christian Church operates 14 physical locations and one online site. The group is evangelical in nature, and it operates under its senior pastor, Kyle Idleman. However, it was initially founded by Bob Russell in 1962 when 53 members planted a new church in Hikes Point.

Christ's Church of the Valley, AZ - 35,000 Weekly Attendees

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CCV has a peculiarly resourceful origin story: pastor Dr. Donald Wilson utilized a rented movie theater to seat audiences in 1982 and, prior to an official facility in 1996, worked out of a high school and a strip mall. After fundraising efforts, CCV managed to develop 50 acres of land in Phoenix, and today, there are nine campuses in several cities.

Pastor Wilson stepped down after 35 years in 2017, leaving Ashley Wooldridge as the head of the organization. The church lists itself as non-denominational, and its values often lean evangelical.

Crossroads Church, OH - 35,000 Weekly Attendees

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Crossroads began not as a coordinated effort but as a response to a growing demand for a Christian community in 1990. A bible study in Hyde Park, Cincinnati, attracted over 100 members, and 11 founding families then worked together to raise funds and purchase an auditorium that could seat 1,200.

Today, ten pastors oversee eight physical venues and an online streaming service called "Anywhere." Of the roughly 35,000 weekly attendees, around 6,000 participate in the online streaming service. Regarding values, Crossroads is, according to its official website and staff, an interdenominational group that tends to lean evangelically.

Saddleback Church, CA - 28,000 Weekly Attendees

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Forty-three years and 50,000 baptisms later, Saddleback Church has gained an international following. The inertia of the church first began in 1980 after founder Rick Warren probed people in his Orange County neighborhood about their opposition to regularly attending church, and by focusing on those issues, Saddleback church grew into its 1995 facility that seated 3,500.

The early 2000s saw Saddleback focus on initiatives that were humanitarian in nature; in 2006, President Barack Obama, still a senator at that point, spoke at a summit hosted by Saddleback. Intriguingly, Pastor Warren arranged a televised discussion between himself, Senator John McCain, and President Obama in 2008 before the November Presidential Election. As recently as October 2023, Saddleback church left the California Southern Baptist Convention following the church's decision to ordain three women pastors, although it still maintains a Baptist confession of faith.

The Largest Churches In EuropeIn Europe, churches are not only places of worship but also tourist attraction sites.

Final Thoughts

While megachurches are located in almost every part of the United States, some states, such as Texas, have significantly more megachurches than other states. Moreover, church attendance varies from 2,000 to 100,000, although many of the largest megachurches are spreading that attendance across multiple locations and online platforms.


Cory Price May 26 2024 in Society

The Largest Megachurches In The US (2024)
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