Americans like things big, and their churches are no exception. The United States is home to thousands of ‘mega-churches’, churches that are roughly defined as having two thousand or more regular weekly worshippers. While Catholic cathedrals have long since boasted such numbers, it is a relatively recent phenomenon among Protestant churches, and the majority of these are classified as Non-Denominational. However, even among traditional Protestant congregations there are a few giants. Here are the largest of each denomination in the United States:
Largest Baptist (Southern Baptist Convention), Est. 20,000-24,000 members
Web: www.fellowshipchurch.com (official website)
The Fellowship Church is the largest Baptist congregation in the United States, and regularly counted among the top ten largest churches in the country. Founded in 1989, it has been under the pastoral leadership of Ed Young almost since its inception. While the main church campus is in Grapevine, there are additional satellite locations in the Dallas area as well as in Miami and London. Fellowship Church is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.
Phoenix First Assembly of God
Largest Pentecostal (Assemblies of God), Est. 10,000-21,000 members
Web: http://dreamcitychurch.us (official website)
The Phoenix First Assembly of God, also known as Dream City Church, is the largest Pentecostal congregation in America. Dating back to 1924, it is one of the oldest churches in Arizona, and is currently under the leadership of Luke Barnett. Worship services are held in an immense sanctuary known as the Pavilion of Light, which was just completed in 2015. The Dream City Church is a member of the Assemblies of God USA, which is part of the family of Pentecostal churches.
First African Methodist Episcopal Church
Los Angeles, California
Largest Methodist (African Methodist Epsicopal), Est. 10,000-19,000 members
Web: www.famechurch.org (official website)
The First African Methodist Episcopal Church is the largest AME congregation in the United States, and is possibly the largest traditional African-American church in the country. Founded in 1872, it is one of the oldest African congregations west of the Mississippi. The current pastor is Reverend J. Edgar Boyd. First AME Church of Los Angeles is one of the most prominent churches in California, and was honored by President Bush (senior) for its outreach.
Church of the Resurrection
Largest Methodist (United Methodist Church), Est, 10,000-19,000 members
The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection is the largest traditional (UMC) Methodist church in the United States. Of all denominations that existed in the United States prior to 1800, the Church of the Resurrection is believed to be the largest congregation. It was founded by and is under the leadership of Adam Hamilton. The main campus is in Leawood, with satellites in Olathe, Kansas City (MO) and Blue Springs (MO). A new sanctuary is currently under construction.
Lutheran Church of Hope
West Des Moines, Iowa
Largest Lutheran (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America), Est. 10,000-11,000 members
Web: www.lutheranchurchofhope.org (official website)
Lutheran Church of Hope is the largest Lutheran congregation in America and possibly the world. Founded in 1994 as part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, it is part of the modern American Evangelical movement while still proud of its traditional Lutheran roots. It is currently under the leadership of Mike Housholder. The congregation currently worships at a huge facility in West Des Moines, with satellite churches in Des Moines, Ankeny, Waukee and Johnston-Grimes.
St. Martin’s Episcopal Church
Largest Episcopal, Est. 4,000-9,000 members
Web: www.stmartinsepiscopal.org (official website)
St. Martin’s Episcopal Church is the largest Episcopal congregation in America and one of the largest congregations of the Anglican Communion in the world outside of England. It is also one of the largest Episcopal church buildings in the country (probably the largest in the South). Founded in 1952, it is regularly attended by members of the Bush family, and has been visited by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Peachtree Presbyterian Church
Largest Presbyterian (Presbyterian Church USA), Est. 3,000-7,000 members
Web: www.peachtreechurch.org (official website)
Peachtree Presbyterian Church is the largest Presbyterian church in the United States and is home to one of the largest Reform-Calvinist congregations in the world. Founded as a Sunday school in 1910, it is part of the Presbyterian Church USA, currently the largest Presbyterian denomination in America. The current church building was completed in 1960. It is under the leadership of Victor Pentz.