Largest Churches in America 2023: Pioneering the Future of Worship

Large church networks in the United States are some of the largest and most influential entities, both in religious circles and society at large. As we find ourselves in 2023, the largest churches in America continue to evolve, setting the pace in innovative worship practices and community engagement.

Grant Glas
August 7, 2023
Church Software

Megachurches and Their Role in the United States

Large church networks in the United States are some of the largest and most influential entities, both in religious circles and society at large. As we find ourselves in 2023, the largest churches in America continue to evolve, setting the pace in innovative worship practices and community engagement.

Photo by Karl Fredrickson on Unsplash

Following the annual research conducted by the Lifeway Research team, this blog looks at the leading figures. What is it that puts these remarkable institutions ahead? Lifeway's survey extends participation invitations to churches featured in past reports, with the focal point being average attendance, not membership.

In the process of compiling the list of the largest churches in America 2023, churches provided information about their 2022 attendance averages, encompassing in-person, online, and adult discipleship in comparison to 2021 figures. The Easter period was intentionally excluded from these statistics.

Keep reading as we explore the breadth and depth of some of the largest churches in the US, their innovative strategies, and the qualities that propel them to the forefront of the megachurch movement.

The Outreach 100 - What's It All About?

Delving into the fast-paced and expansive world of America's largest churches, The Outreach 100 provides an essential guide to the fastest-growing and most significant congregations across the nation. This comprehensive study springs from a fruitful collaboration between Outreach magazine, Lifeway Research, and the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

Top 50 Churches at the Helm

1. Life.Church

Location: Edmond, OK

Pastor: Craig Groeschel

Attendance: 85,000

2. Church of the Highlands

Location: Birmingham, AL

Pastor: Chris Hodges

Attendance: 60,000

3. Lakewood Church

Location: Houston, TX

Pastor: Joel Osteen

Attendance: 45,000

4. Crossroads Church

Location: Cincinnati, OH

Pastor: Brian Tome

Attendance: 35,253

5. Christ's Church of the Valley

Location: Peoria, AZ

Pastor: Ashley Wooldridge

Attendance: 30,482

6. Saddleback Church

Location: Lake Forest, CA

Pastor: Rick Warren

Attendance: 28,000

7. Elevation Church

Location: Matthews, NC

Pastor: Steven Furtick

Attendance: 26,000

8. Southeast Christian Church

Location: Louisville, KY

Pastor: Kyle Idleman

Attendance: 25,917

9. Christ Fellowship Church

Location: Palm Beach Gardens, FL

Pastor: Todd Mullins

Attendance: 25,000

10. North Point Ministries

Location: Alpharetta, GA

Pastor: Andy Stanley

Attendance: 24,273

11. Fellowship Church

Location: Grapevine, TX

Pastor: Ed Young

Attendance: 24,162

12. Central Church

Location: Henderson, NV

Pastor: Jud Wilhite

Attendance: 21,055

13. Mount Zion Baptist Church

Location: Nashville, TN

Pastor: Joseph W. Walker III

Attendance: 21,000

14. Gateway Church

Location: Southlake, TX

Pastor: Robert Morris

Attendance: 20,500

15. Bayside Church

Location: Roseville, CA

Pastor: Ray Johnston

Attendance: 20,000

16. Dream City Church

Location: Phoenix, AZ

Pastor: Luke Barnett

Attendance: 20,000

17. LCBC Church

Location: Manheim, PA

Pastor: Jason Mitchell

Attendance: 19,000

18. Woodlands Church

Location: The Woodlands, TX

Pastor: Kerry Shook

Attendance: 18,385

19. The Rock Church

Location: San Diego, CA

Pastor: Miles McPherson

Attendance: 18,000

20. 12Stone Church

Location: Lawrenceville, GA

Pastor: Kevin Myers

Attendance: 17,000

21. Christ the King Community Church

Location: Bellingham, WA

Pastor: Grant Fishbook

Attendance: 17,000

22. Prestonwood Baptist Church

Location: Plano, TX

Pastor: Jack Graham

Attendance: 17,000

23. Eagle Brook Church

Location: Centerville, MN

Pastor: Jason Strand

Attendance: 16,990

24. Calvary Church

Location: Albuquerque, NM

Pastor: Skip Heitzig

Attendance: 16,830

25. King Jesus International Ministry

Location: Miami, FL

Pastor: Guillermo Maldonado

Attendance: 16,800

26. Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale

Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL

Pastor: Doug Sauder

Attendance: 16,283

27. Second Baptist Church

Location: Houston, TX

Pastor: H. Edwin Young

Attendance: 15,970

28. World Changers Church International

Location: College Park, GA

Pastor: Creflo Dollar

Attendance: 15,000

29. World Outreach Church

Location: Murfreesboro, TN

Pastor: G. Allen Jackson

Attendance: 15,000

30. World Overcomers

Location: Durham, NC

Pastor: Andy Thompson

Attendance: 15,000

31. Harvest Christian Fellowship

Location: Riverside, CA

Pastor: Greg Laurie

Attendance: 14,560

32. The Rock Church and World Outreach Center

Location: San Bernardino, CA

Pastor: Dan Roth

Attendance: 14,550

33. Triumph Church

Location: Detroit, MI

Pastor: Solomon Kinloch

Attendance: 14,000

34. Family Christian Center

Location: Munster, IN

Pastor: Steve Munsey

Attendance: 13,640

35. Free Chapel Worship Center

Location: Gainesville, GA

Pastor: Jentezen Franklin

Attendance: 13,568

36. Lakepointe Church

Location: Rockwall, TX

Pastor: Josh Howerton

Attendance: 13,278

37. Christian Cultural Center

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Pastor: A.R. Bernard

Attendance: 13,000

38. West Angeles Church of God in Christ

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Pastor: Charles Blake

Attendance: 13,000

39. Southland Christian Church

Location: Nicholasville, KY

Pastor: Jon Weece

Attendance: 12,524

40. Abundant Church

Location: El Paso, TX

Pastor: Charles Nieman

Attendance: 12,400

41. Mariners Church

Location: Irvine, CA

Pastor: Eric Geiger

Attendance: 12,206

42. Calvary Chapel Golden Springs

Location: Diamond Bar, CA

Pastor: Raul Ries

Attendance: 12,000

43. Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia

Location: Philadelphia, PA

Pastor: Joe Focht

Attendance: 12,000

44. First Baptist Church of Glenarden

Location: Landover, MD

Pastor: John K. Jenkins Sr.

Attendance: 12,000

45. New Life Church

Location: Colorado Springs, CO

Pastor: Brady Boyd

Attendance: 12,000

46. Potential Church

Location: Cooper City, FL

Pastor: Troy Gramling

Attendance: 12,000

47. The Church of Eleven22

Location: Jacksonville, FL

Pastor: Joby Martin

Attendance: 11,501

48. New Life Church

Location: Conway, AR

Pastor: Rick Bezet

Attendance: 11,500

49. Community Bible Church

Location: San Antonio, TX

Pastor: Ed Newton

Attendance: 11,388

50. Bethel Church

Location: Redding, CA

Pastor: Bill Johnson

Attendance: 11,000

Winning Strategies of Megachurches

America's megachurches have soared to prominence with a blend of novel approaches that keep them relevant and impactful. 

Using Technology

Central to their success is their willingness to embrace technology. Making services available online reaches a broader audience, breaking geographical barriers while building a sense of connectedness despite the physical vastness of their congregations. Church presentation software, live streaming, and digital signage are just a few of the technological tools megachurches use.

Engaging Communities

A common theme among megachurches is their knack for engaging communities by initiating local programs, catering to different social needs, and reflecting the core values of their members. As large church networks place high importance on leadership - choosing pastors and staff who are as adept in contemporary management practices as they are in spiritual guidance - the quality of service is maintained across sites. They deliver teachings that resonate with everyday life, ensuring their spiritual lessons are both relatable and applicable.

Creating Collective Identity

What is  truly remarkable about large and expansive church networks is their capacity to cultivate a sense of community, adapt to shifts in societal norms, and engage with congregants on an intimate level. Most members of megachurches across borders and oceans can agree on one thing: they feel at home in their ministry and an affinity for other members.

All these elements unite to foster a vibrant, spiritually enriching atmosphere that is appealing to a diverse range of people, explaining why these churches continue to expand their footprint.

The Future of Megachurches in the USA

Surveying the expanse of America's largest churches in 2023, it's evident that the frontrunners understand the significance of evolution and adaptability. It is clear that the essence of a powerful church is not merely in the size of its congregation but in the depth of its engagement and the strength of its community.

Technological advances continue, meaning further transformations and innovations will redefine the future of worship in America's largest churches. These establishments' resilience, adaptability, and innovative spirit create a hopeful vision of faith's future, proving that even the biggest church in the US is capable of personal connections and close-knit community building.

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