While majority of them are politically inclined and theological in nature, an American megachurch typically features the following characteristics: the savviness of a multinational empire, the cleverness of an established educator, the practicality of a globally-competitive auditorium and the energy of a youthful spirit — all without sacrificing traditional Catholic values and practices.
Megachurches are extraordinary locations of worship. Due to their size and theological practices, these churches accommodate more than 5,000 people every week. In no particular order, here are the ten of the most prominent megachurches in America.
Location: Houston, Texas
Pastor Joel Osteen leads Lakewood Church's services with his wife Victoria Osteen. Often hailed as America's biggest and most popular church, Lakewood Church's weekly television shows dominate the Christian programming landscape — with ratings that could rival Hollywood releases.
Willow Creek Community Church
Location: South Barrington, Illinois
Led by husband and wife Bill and Lynne Hybels, Willow Creek Community Church has always secured a spot as one of the five biggest churches in the United States. The couple spent their lives supporting thousands of churches. Their church has been the site of the largest leadership conference in the world every year.
Location: Edmond, Oklahoma
Though it's not as famous as the previously mentioned churches, Life.Church is technically the largest church in the United States. Contrary to other megachurches which utilized mass media channels like television and radio broadcasts, it opted to focus its outreach efforts through the internet.
North Point Community Church
Location: Alpharetta, Georgia
Despite having an impressive internet audience, an established television show and a popular pastor, North Point Community Church chose to focus its congregation in training thousands of church leaders.
Location: Lake Forest, California
Founded and led by Rick Warren, one of the most popular pastors in the world, Saddleback Church is one of America's largest churches. Nicknamed as the "evangelical pope," Rick Warren's monumental contributions to the Church include writing "The Purpose Driven Life" — a book that's second only to the Bible in best-selling non-fiction, training numerous church leaders around the world and delivering Pope Francis' keynote address in his World Meeting of Families in 2015.
Location: Dallas, Texas
One of the five most attended churches in the United States, Gateway Church promotes public engagement and discussions. Participants and pastors alike speak boldly about issues and policies that go against the teachings of the church.
Shadow Mountain Community Church
Location: San Diego, California
Led by two of the most charismatic and respected church leaders in the United States, Dr. David Jeremiah and Dr. Tim LaHaye, Shadow Mountain Community Church gets more than 8,000 service attendees every week. Jeremiah's radio broadcast influence is second only to the Osteens when it comes to ratings and influence.
New Season Christian Worship Center
Location: Sacramento, California
The New Season Christian Worship Center is the location of one of the biggest prayer networks in the country. It's the home base of one of the most respected Hispanic evangelical leaders, Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez.
Prestonwood Baptist Church
Location: Plano, Texas
One of the Southern Baptist churches that actually has the word "Baptist" to its name, the Prestonwood Baptist Church is led by Dr. Jack Graham — a well-known religious leader.
The Rock Church
Location: San Diego, California
The Rock Church is led by Miles McPherseon, who is considered one of the most talented Bible teachers in the United States.