New Ranking of Nation’s 25 Largest Churches Features Rising Number of Independent, Non-Denominational Congregations
Americans like things supersized, even their churches. Millions of Americans attend megachurches — Protestant Christian congregations with regular attendance of more than 2,000 people at all worship locations.
24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of America’s 25 largest churches, based on average weekly attendees. Most of these mega churches are located in southern Sunbelt states such as Texas and Florida, and many are found in fast-growing suburbs of cities such as Dallas and Houston.
While denominations such as the Southern Baptist Convention and Independent Christian Churches make several appearances, the nation’s largest churches are disproportionately independent, non-denominational. Reflecting a recent trend, 40% of the more than 1,500 mega churches in North America and a majority of the hundred largest churches are unaffiliated denominations.
Some of these began as small, living room services that now fill stadium-like spaces. They tend to appeal to a younger demographic, embracing state-of-the-art technology with Bible apps, live-streamed sermons, Christian rock music performances, and active youth ministries. Some even include features like skate parks.
To determine the 25 largest churches in America, 24/7 Wall St. compiled weekly attendance figures for the congregations of megachurches with data from the Hartford Institute for Religion (HIRR) research. A megachurch is defined as having regular weekly attendance of at least 2,000 people. Denominations came from a list of 65 denominations provided by the HIRR. Names of pastors, and church locations also came from the HIRR. HIRR research is updated regularly and attempts to reflect the most current conditions.
SOURCE: 24/7 Wall St.