Are the World's Largest Megachurches in North America?

The film 'Hillsong - Let Hope Rise' premiered nationwide on May 29, 2015.
The film "Hillsong - Let Hope Rise" premiered nationwide on May 29, 2015. | (Photo: Courtesy/GraceHillMedia)

Some of the country's biggest megachurches like Lakewood Church, North Point Ministries, Saddleback Church and The Potter's House have become household names in American culture based on their sheer size and influence. But how do they compare in size to other megachurches outside of North America? A new report has the answer.

According to findings recently published by Leadership Network, many North American megachurches — the largest of which have upwards of 30,000 to 40,000 in weekly attendance — are dwarfed when compared to the weekly attendance of some megachurches around the globe. A database compiled by researcher Warren Bird categorizes these larger megachurches by continent and country, size in weekly attendance, pastorship, the year founded, and whether or not they have multiple campuses.

Researchers found that Asia is home to the world's largest megachurch, and currently there is none that rivals it in size. With a staggering 480,000 in weekly attendance, Korea's Yoido Full Gospel Church got its start in the living room of one of its founding pastors. Headquartered in the capital city of Seoul, it has grown into a multi-site megachurch with a branch in the U.S. The organization was founded in 1958 and is affiliated with the Assemblies of God. It has been headed by senior pastor Young Hoon Lee since 2008.

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Korea's second largest megachurch, also located in Seoul, is a Presbyterian organization with 75,000 in weekly attendance, called Onnuri (All Nations) Community Church.

On the African continent, researchers report that the region's largest megachurch is Deeper Christian Life Ministry. The Nigeria-based assembly is a non-denominational charismatic church with 75,000 in weekly attendance.

Latin America and The Caribbean are home to more of the world's largest churches. El Salvador's Mission Cristiana Elim, and Brazil's Igreja de Paz megachurches both have a weekly attendance of 50,000. Igreja de Paz, which was founded in 1993 by Pastor Abe Huber, grew to exceed a weekly attendance of 2,000 just three years after opening its doors. According to the report, Mission Cristiana Elim has churches in more than 50 U.S. cities, as well as countries including Canada, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, Spain and Australia.

Oceania, a region that includes islands of the Pacific Ocean, is home to an assembly that's well-known in the U.S. — Hillsong Church. The Australia-based church has an average weekly attendance of over 31,000, according to findings based on the church's 2013 annual report, which accounts for Australian campuses only.

According to Hillsong's website, the global church has an average weekly attendance of over 100,000. Hillsong has three U.S. sites — in and around New York City, Los Angeles and most recently Phoenix, Arizona. The Christian Post previously reported that the church's co-founder, Senior Pastor Brian Houston, announced that the ever-expanding church would launch its own television network this summer, called Hillsong Channel.

Europe's biggest megachurch is Faith Church located in Hungary. The multi-site Pentecostal assembly headed up by Pastor Sandor Nemeth has an average weekly attendance of 8,000.

Leadership Network is a non-profit that serves over 200,000 leaders worldwide, and acts as a catalyst for innovation movements that enable the church to have greater impact for the glory of God, says the organization's website.

Follow me on Twitter: @kevindonporter

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