top 10 largest churches in the US
Top 10 largest churches in the US

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.

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.

Let’s take a look at theselargest churches that you can visit inthe US.

The list of top 10 largest churches in the US

10. Church of the Highlands

9. Elevation Church

8. NewSpring Church

7. Christ’s Church of the Valley

6. Fellowship Church

5. The National Cathedral

4. Coral Ridge Presbyterian

3. Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

2. North Point Community Church

1. Lakewood Church

What are the top 10 largest churches in the US?

10. Church of the Highlands

Photo: Standing For Freedom Center
Photo: Standing For Freedom Center

Church of the Highlands is a non-denominational, Christian multi-site megachurch headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. It was the largest congregation in Alabama and the second largest church in the United States as of 2018, with an average of 43,030 attendees every week. The senior pastor is Chris Hodges.

The church was founded on February 4, 2001 by Chris Hodges and a core group of 34 people. In 2007, it opened its main building, with a 2,400-seat auditorium. The church has opened numerous campuses in the Birmingham area. According to a 2018 church census, it claimed a weekly attendance of 43,030 people and 17 campuses in different cities.

Church of the Highlands is affiliated with the Association of Related Churches (ARC). Its pastoral staff are among the founding members of ARC.

Highlands College was founded by Church of the Highlands staff. Students of the college serve on various teams at the church. Highlands College states that they offer, "a unique approach to higher education through a holistic training experience," and focus on 4 areas of instruction: academic instruction, ministry training, character formation, and spiritual development. Students who attend Highlands College have the option to receive a degree through the college's affiliation with Southeastern University (SEU).

9. Elevation Church

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Elevation Church is a Baptist multi-site church pastored by Steven Furtick, based in Charlotte, affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Weekly church attendance was 25,317 people in 2018. Elevation has 20 locations. Elevation Church.

The church began as a church plant of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, with Steven Furtick and seven other families from Christ Covenant Church in Shelby, North Carolina, relocated to Charlotte, meeting in Providence High School. On February 5, 2006, the first Sunday worship service, 121 people attended. By 2013, the church's regular attendance had grown to nearly 15,000 people weekly. According to a 2018 church census, it claimed a weekly attendance of 25,317 people and 16 campuses in different cities. By 2019, it had 18 locations across the southeastern United States and one campus in Toronto.

8. NewSpring Church

Photo: Newspring.cc
Photo: Newspring.cc

NewSpring Church is a multi-site, megachurch with 14 campuses across South Carolina with its main location in Anderson, South Carolina. It loosely affiliates itself with the Southern Baptist Convention.

The church was founded in January 2000 with a handful of people in a living room. Since then, the church has grown to 14 locations across the state of South Carolina. In addition to gathering at multiple campuses across the state, NewSpring has established an online campus to connect with individuals who cannot join in person.

NewSpring’s vision is to be a life-giving church, marked by the presence of God, activated to impact others. They believe in trusting God’s promises, pursuing uncommon unity, making bold moves, having a kingdom mentality, and showing visible love.

Announced July 10, 2016, founder Perry Noble was removed as Senior Pastor by the church's leadership team effective July 1, 2016 for personal issues related to alcohol and neglect of his family.

A year later it was announced that NewSpring would be led by a team of Lead Pastors (Brad Cooper, Shane Duffey, Michael Mullikin, Tyler Tatum, and David Hall) and Teaching Pastors (Brad Cooper, Clayton King, Dan Lian, and Meredith Knox) would share the stage on Sundays. The church also instituted a team of elders composed of a group of members from different NewSpring campuses.

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7. Christ’s Church of the Valley

Photo: Christ's Church of the Valley
Photo: Christ's Church of the Valley

Christ's Church of the Valley (CCV) is a non-denominational Christian megachurch located in Metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona. The church has several campuses in Arizona. Weekend church attendance was 32,000.

Christ's Church of the Valley was founded by pastor Dr. Donald Wilson in 1982 with services held in a rented movie theater. Christ's Church of the Valley also held services in an elementary school and a strip mall for a short period of time. In 1996, Christ's Church of the Valley found a permanent home, after raising over $1 million in one day to purchase 50 acres of land in the northwest Phoenix. For the first four years on the new property, Christ's Church of the Valley held services in a ‘sprung’ structure with seating for 1,100. In January 2004, Christ's Church of the Valley moved into their current 4,500 seat multi-use structure on a 100-acre campus. In 2006, CCV built two new buildings for its children and youth ministries from over $8 million in funding, raised in one weekend. These buildings opened in fall 2008.

As of 2016, it had 6 campuses in Maricopa County.

On October 29, 2017, Don Wilson, CCV's founding pastor stepped down as Senior Pastor after 35 years at CCV. His replacement was Ashley Wooldridge, who was an Executive Pastor and a Teaching Pastor at the church for ten years prior.

According to a church census released in 2019, it claimed a weekly attendance of 32,107 people and 9 campuses in different cities.

6. Fellowship Church

Photo: Fellowship Church
Photo: Fellowship Church

Fellowship Church (FC) is an evangelical Christian megachurch located in Grapevine, Texas, a suburb of Fort Worth, that is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. FC's lead pastor has been Ed Young since its opening in 1989.

FC started in 1989 as a mission church of the First Baptist Church of Irving, Texas, and was initially known as "Fellowship of Las Colinas". Approximately 150 members of First Baptist Irving relocated to the new church. FC initially met in a rented facility next to the Irving Arts Center and across from MacArthur High School.

Thus, it moved across the parking lot to the nearby Irving Arts Center. During this time, FC tried the concept of "simultaneous services"—one group would meet at FC's facility while another would meet at the Arts Center. The FC music team would play at one site while Young preached at the other, then midway through the services the teams would switch places. The concept proved unsuccessful and was shortly dropped.

Meanwhile, FC began to look for a suitable site for its permanent facility. FC discovered a 160-acre (0.65 km2) site on heavily traveled State Highway 121 north of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, which was being auctioned by the Resolution Trust Corporation. Though larger than FC wanted, FC did not have the option to bid on only a portion of the site—it had to bid on the entire site or not bid at all. FC agreed to bid on the site, and was the successful bidder; however, it had to borrow $1.675 million to make the payment. Approximately two years later, the announcement was made that Grapevine Mills would be built across the street from FC. Unsolicited offers came in for portions of the FC property, and eventually FC sold a 22-acre (89,000 m2) parcel on the north side of the property for the exact amount it had borrowed earlier, thus allowing it to begin construction debt-free.

In April 1998, FC finally completed and moved to its current facility and adopted its present name.

5. The National Cathedral

Photo: Washington National Cathedral
Photo: Washington National Cathedral

The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the City and Diocese of Washington, commonly known as Washington National Cathedral, is an American cathedral of the Episcopal Church. The cathedral is located in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. The structure is of Neo-Gothic design closely modeled on English Gothic style of the late fourteenth century. It is the second-largest church building in the United States, and the fourth-tallest structure in Washington, D.C. The cathedral is the seat of both the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Michael Bruce Curry, and the bishop of the Diocese of Washington, Mariann Edgar Budde. Over 270,000 people visit the structure annually.

The Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation, under the first seven Bishops of Washington, erected the cathedral under a charter passed by the United States Congress on January 6, 1893. Construction began on September 29, 1907, when the foundation stone was laid in the presence of President Theodore Roosevelt and a crowd of more than 20,000, and ended 83 years later when the "final finial" was placed in the presence of President George H. W. Bush in 1990. Decorative work, such as carvings and statuary, is ongoing as of 2011. The Foundation is the legal entity of which all institutions on the Cathedral Close are a part; its corporate staff provides services for the institutions to help enable their missions, conducts work of the Foundation itself that is not done by the other entities, and serves as staff for the Board of Trustees.

The cathedral stands at Massachusetts and Wisconsin Avenues in the northwest quadrant of Washington. It is an associate member of the recently organized inter-denominational Washington Theological Consortium. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2007, it was ranked third on the List of America's Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.

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4. Coral Ridge Presbyterian

Photo: Minube
Photo: Minube

Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church is a Christian megachurch within the Presbyterian Church in America located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It was founded in 1960 by D. James Kennedy (1930–2007), who served as the church's senior pastor until shortly before his death. The present church building, which seats 2,300 persons, was dedicated on February 3, 1974 by evangelist Billy Graham. It became affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America denomination on May 16, 1978. Coral Ridge was originally a member congregation of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, the so-called "Southern" church before 1983.

Beginning in 1978 under pastor D. James Kennedy, the church's weekly services were televised as the Coral Ridge Hour, eventually reaching a nationwide audience of more than 3 million. While the production of new broadcasts from the church was discontinued in 2007 after Kennedy's death, his media ministry D. James Kennedy Ministries now airs excerpts of his sermons, along with current news segments, on its nationwide weekly half-hour TV program Truths That Transform.

The Westminster Academy and Knox Theological Seminary, also in Fort Lauderdale, are educational ministries of the church. W. Tullian Tchividjian, a grandson of Billy Graham, succeeded Kennedy as senior pastor of the church, serving from April 2009 to June 2015. In June 2016, Rob Pacienza officially assumed the role of senior pastor.

2. North Point Community Church

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

North Point Community Church is a non-denominational, evangelical Christian megachurch located in Alpharetta, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. North Point currently averages more than 38,589 people in attendance across eight locations in the north metro Atlanta area. The senior pastor Andy Stanley serves as the church's lead pastor and, in turn, leads the North Point Community Church staff.

The church was started in November 1995 by Andy Stanley. For the first three years of its existence, the congregation of North Point met every other Sunday night in rented facilities. When the Olympics came to town, the church was unable to meet for nine weeks.

In December 1996, North Point purchased an 83-acre site in Alpharetta, a suburb of Atlanta. Construction began six months later. The first phase of construction included a 2,700-seat auditorium and other facilities, which opened on September 27, 1998. By Christmas, attendance had grown to 3,000. By the end of the first year, North Point was averaging over 4,000 in worship. In spring of 2001 the second phase of construction was completed, which added a second auditorium with the additional seating. North Point can accommodate around 5,000 worshipers at one time.

In the spring of 2001, a group from the Buckhead area of Atlanta began meeting every other Sunday night in rented facilities with the desire to create a church similar to North Point Community Church in their area. Andy Stanley and the North Point leadership team advised the "Buckhead Fellowship," and in August 2001, the group became the first satellite campus of North Point as Buckhead Church. Buckhead Church moved into a renovated grocery store in 2003, and moved to a purpose-built, permanent facility in May 2007.

According to a church census released in 2020, it claimed a weekly attendance of 38,589 people.

1. Lakewood Church

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

Lakewood Church is an evangelical non-denominational Christian megachurch located in Houston, Texas. It is one of the largest congregations in the United States, averaging about 52,000 attendees per week. The 16,800-seat Lakewood Church building, home to four English-language services and two Spanish-language services per week, is located at the former Compaq Center. Joel Osteen is the senior pastor of Lakewood Church with his wife, Victoria, who serves as co-pastor.

It has 368 full-time and part-time staff.

Lakewood Church, originally called "Lakewood Baptist Church", was founded by John Osteen and his second wife, Dolores (Dodie) on Mother's Day, May 10, 1959, inside an abandoned feed store in northeast Houston. John was a Southern Baptist minister, but after experiencing baptism in the Holy Spirit, he founded Lakewood as a church for charismatic Baptists. The church soon dropped "Baptist" from its name and became non-denominational. By 1979, attendance was over five thousand, and the church was becoming prominent among Pentecostals and Charismatics. John and Dodie created and hosted Lakewood's weekly television program, which could be seen in 100 countries worldwide. Upon John Osteen's death on January 23, 1999, his youngest son, Joel Osteen, became the pastor.

In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison caused flooding in the Houston area. Lakewood church was opened as a shelter to approximately 5,000 displaced persons.

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