Although churches can be judged by many different criteria, including width, size, and length - it is important to remember that the biggest churches have the largest congregations, which is topped off by Life.Church in Edmond, Oklahoma. It is the tenet of every Christian that where there are at least three people who gather in the name of God, he is present. This Evangelical Covenant Church has the largest congregation, with an estimated weekly attendance of around 53,000 souls.
Pastor Craig Groeschel founded the church along with some associates who initially met in a garage. What started as a small congregation of 40 dedicated people eventually grew into a multi-campus effort. The name "Life.Church" represents the values associated with its meteoric growth, providing online services and mobile apps for those who cannot attend in person.
The Church of the Highlands is a close second, with an estimated weekly attendance of 51,900 souls. It is non-denominational and located in Birmingham, AL. The size of the church is astronomical, as there are 17 different satellite locations which also include online broadcasts. Of course, it has become a common theme amongst churches to use the power of streaming and social media to reach a larger audience of people that cannot commute to a physical location. Furthermore, congregations usually follow pastors and leaders that they enjoy best - so making the message location-agnostic is a great way for others to truly choose what they want.
One of the older churches on the list, Lakewood Church of Houston, TX has a weekly attendance of around 45,000 people. It is non-denominational and founded in 1959. Joel Osteen, a television evangelist and author, holds services here frequently in a church auditorium of over 16,000 visitors. His father, John Osteen, had founded the church during its inception. Interestingly, the church was initially a former sports arena called the Compaq Center, which was turned into a church, costing Osteen $100 million.
Following the theme of broadcast, Lakewood Church often appears on televised broadcasts across the nation, both live and recorded sermons on many different religious networks and affiliates.
Georgia's North Point Community Church, which is located in Alpharetta hosts an estimated weekly attendance of around 36,000 souls. It is non-denominational and was founded in 1995 by Andy Stanley. The secret to its growth was to move the church to its flagship location on an 83-acre site which was averaging a few thousand people in the congregation. Starting in 2001, the church opened various other satellite locations. In 2014, they reached a total of 6 campuses, which is still the same number to this day.
Andy Stanley is the son of Charles Stanley, who is a television evangelist who hosts InTouch Ministries. He is also the host of many other religious programming and networks, where he often speaks about the word of God and the teachings of the bible. Of course, the common recurring theme of broadcasting sermons seems to have a positive impact on church size.