Lights. Camera. Religion.
Megachurches are more than just your regular pulpit and pew church. They’re larger, they’re packed, and they’re drawing in thousands of people.
Going to a megachurch is a rising trend in the United States. In 2011, a survey by Harvard Institute of Religion Research found that six million people — about 10 percent of churchgoers surveyed — attended churches with more than 2,000 attendees.
But more people are giving megachurches a chance. OnFaith’s Maryann Gogniat Eidemiller, who is Catholic, attended a megachurch to see what the draw was, and she was very pleased with her experience.
“I had never been in a church with a lobby, welcome desk, café, people at tables having snacks and soft drinks, and a staff of friendly team members smiling and opening doors,” Eidemiller wrote. “It felt like opening night at the movies. The dim sanctuary doesn’t even have an altar, but rather a stage with two large projection screens flanking the band. The rows of pews were the only thing that came close to suggesting ‘church.’”
So is that what big churches are really like? Here are 15 different megachurches from across the country that are too cool not to talk about.
Thanks to Sermon Central, a religious resources website, for providing many of the statistics.
Pastor Joel Osteen, who has been somewhat of a celebrity sensation himself, is leading the charge when it comes to Lakewood. The non-denominational Christian church in Houston, Texas currently averages 43,5000 in attendance.
Second Baptist Church
The Second Baptist Church is far below Osteen’s church in numbers, but it’s still a big time player with 23,659 members. Pastor Ed Young leads the church, which is also located in Houston.
North Point Community Church
North Point Community Church is pulling in 22,557 believers to its location in Alpharetta, Georgia. The church, led by Pastor Andy Stanley, sometimes calls in musical artists to entertain its religious audience.
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Willow Creek Community Church
Pastor Bill Hybels pulls in 22,500 members to the church in South Barrington, Illinois. The church is very focused on getting people involved and, much like other megachurches, brings in musical artists to get its messages across.
Lifechurch.tv not only has multiple locations across the U.S., but also caters to a wide online audience. You can watch live as pastor Craig Groeschel presents to 20,823 believers.