Church attendance is decreasing in the United States. During the 1950s, nearly half of Americans attended a church, synagogue, or mosque for religious services in a given week. Today, that number is closer to 35%. According to the Pew Research Center, some of the most common reasons for skipping church include Americans not having the time, not having a place of worship they like, and practicing their faith on their own.
Despite this decline in attendance, some churches across the nation have experienced unprecedented growth in a short amount of time. In different parts of the country, some massive places of worship serve 20,000 to 50,000 congregants in a given week.
To gain a better understanding of the situation, the analysts at Stacker compiled a list of some of the biggest churches in every state. In order to make the list, churches must have an average of 1,000 or more attendees each week. The list is ranked in alphabetical order by state. Some of the churches to make this list are considered megachurches. According to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, a megachurch is a Christian church that generally exceeds 2,000 average attendees, offers extremely active congregational communities, and provides outreach ministries.
Growth in America's megachurches appears to be an exception to the rule in declining attendance for religious services. In the Hartford Institute's 2015 study, megachurches were found to have grown 5% annually on average during the five years studied. Many of the nation's megachurches have multiple campuses and provide an average of five services each weekend.
Not surprisingly, the country's most populous states—think California and Texas—are home to some of the most massive churches in the country. From the headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the largest megachurch in the country, check out these massive churches in every state.
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- Location: Birmingham, AL
The Rev. Chris Hodges founded the Christian Church of the Highlands in 2001. Since then, Hodges has established church campuses across the state. In 2018, he announced a new branch of the megachurch would be built in inner-city Birmingham.
- Location: Anchorage, AK
ChangePoint is Alaska's largest megachurch, with more than 3,300 attendees each week. ChangePoint's three core values include “enjoying God together,” “being transformed together,” and “demonstrating God's heart together.”
- Location: Peoria, AZ
Christ's Church of the Valley (CCV) is a non-denominational Christian church based in the suburbs of Phoenix. Along with regular masses and community outreach, CCV offers the Leadership Institute's Residency Program, which provides hands-on ministry training.
- Location: Rogers, AR
Cross Church, formerly known as Church at Pinnacle Hills, was founded in 2001 as an offshoot of the First Baptist Church of Springdale. In 2014, after 27 years of leading Cross Church and its 8,500 attendees, the Rev. Ronnie Floyd was named the new president for Southern Baptists.
- Location: Lake Forest, CA
Rick Warren held the first Saddleback Church service in 1980. Since then, Warren and his congregation have experienced a lot of firsts: Saddleback became the first church to baptize 5,000 people and the first church to serve 10,000 attendees without owning a building. Today, over 30,000 Southern Californians attend church at one of Saddleback's campuses.
- Location: Lafayette, CO
Flatirons Community Church serves the Denver-Boulder area and is continuing to expand its reach. The church is looking to start its newest campus in Brighton, Colo. Despite being based in the Centennial State, Flatirons Community Church also serves believers from around the globe.
- Location: Hartford, CT
St. Patrick - St. Anthony Church traces its origins back to 1829. Throughout St. Patrick's and St. Anthony's history, the two churches survived fires, floods, and hurricanes. It wasn't until 1958 when the two Catholic parishes merged into one massive church.
- Location: New Castle, DE
The First Baptist Church of Delaware's mission is to “love God, love people, reach the world.” The church, led by senior pastor Dr. Clint Scott, is a Southern Baptist church.
- Location: Washington D.C.
Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, commonly referred to as the National Shrine or America's Catholic Church, celebrated its first mass in 1924. More than 1 million people visit the National Shrine annually, and visitors can take tours through the church's 80 chapels.
- Location: Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Christ Fellowship has nine locations and offers pop-up masses across Florida. Followers who can't make it to Sunday mass can stream it live or watch messages from the Rev. Todd Mullins on demand.
- Location: Alpharetta, GA
According to Outreach, in 2017, North Point Community Church was the second-largest megachurch in the U.S., with more than 39,000 attendees each week. Founded in 1995 by pastor Andy Stanley, this non-denominational church has grown beyond its original 2,700-seat auditorium and now provides six locations for worshipers in the Atlanta metropolitan area.
- Location: Kona, HI
Living Stones Church holds worship services in two locations on Hawaii's Big Island. This Christian church, led by senior pastor Bill Barley, offers cross-generational worship for families.
- Location: Post Falls, ID
Founding senior pastor Jim Putnam was a three-time All-American wrestler in college before he began working as a youth minister. Later, in 1998, Putnam created Real Life Ministries. Since then, the church has since grown to serve more than 8,000 members.
- Location: South Barrington, IL
Willow Creek Community Church, a megachurch with eight locations around Illinois, has been marred with sexual assault allegations in recent years. According to one New York Times' article, Willow Creek's founding pastor was accused of repeatedly harassing his former employee in the 1980s.
- Location: Munster, IN
The Family Christian Center, commonly called FCC, gained national attention after it became the first American church with a Starbucks inside. Service attendees at the FCC often watch dramatic retellings of the Bible in one of pastor Steve Munsey's “Story-time” sermons.
- Location: West Des Moines, IA
Lutheran Church of Hope's West Des Moines campus holds more than 2,800 people at one time and serves more than 9,000 worshipers on a given weekend. Hope offers classes spanning from Scrapbooking Extravaganza to Adoration Choir; the classes are available to all, regardless of how often people take part in worship at Hope's multiple locations.
- Location: Leawood, KS
The Church of the Resurrection is the largest United Methodist Church (UMC) in the country, with four campuses and more than 22,000 members. However, the church's stance on same-sex marriage caused the Church of the Resurrection's pastor, the Rev. Adam Hamilton, to say “I want the UMC to be a church for my children and my grandchildren, but at this rate, I don't think that's taking place.”
- Location: Parker, KY
Southeast Christian Church is a multisite elder-led church. Potential new members beginning or restarting their faith journeys at Southeast are encouraged to take the church's Starting Point class.
- Location: Mandeville, LA
Our Lady of the Lake has served Louisiana's Catholics for over 150 years, and its school has been open for almost 130 years. Today, more than 800 students are enrolled in kindergarten through seventh grade at the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.
- Location: Lewiston, ME
The Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul dates back to the arrival of Canadians in Lewiston in the late 1850s. By 1905, this Catholic Basilica boasted more than 10,000 parishioners.
- Location: Landover, MD
First Baptist Church of Glenarden offers biblical teachings seven days a week and provides more than 100 ministries. Along with servings its regular attendees, this megachurch church streams all of its Sunday services for more than 45,000 virtual worshipers each month.
- Location: Boston, MA
The Cathedral of the Holy Cross has served Catholics in the Boston area since its dedication in 1875. In 2019, the church completed its two-year, $26 million renovation. The church now sports restored stations of the cross, beautiful stained-glass windows, and a new ceiling.
- Location: Troy, MI
This Troy-based non-denominational church has seen expansive growth since its humble beginnings in a rented school cafeteria. Kensington Church today has six campuses and is looking to expand again.
- Location: Centerville, MN
Eagle Brook Church serves nearly 20,000 attendees each week, and even with eight locations, the church is still running out of room. Eagle Brook Church embarked on a construction project to add 22,000 square feet of space to support attendees at its Blaine campus.
- Location: Brandon, MS
Pinelake Church began its journey in Mississippi as a mobile chapel in 1971. Today, the multi-campus megachurch serves more than 11,000 worshipers each week.
- Location: Kansas City, MO
In 1835, a log cabin was built on 11th and Broadway in Kansas City, Mo., thus creating the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Since then, the church has gone through multiple expansions and renovations, and the final Cathedral was completed in 2003.
- Location: Billings, MT
Faith Chapel, founded in 1977, belongs to the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. The Foursquare church was founded by widowed single mother Aimee McPherson in Los Angeles in the early 1900s. The church believes in “Jesus Christ as the Savior, Baptizer with the Holy Spirit, Healer, and Coming King.”
- Location: Lincoln, NE
Lincoln Berean Church was borne of the Fundamentalist movement. The church has grown to serve over 4,000 people each week.
- Location: Henderson, NV
Central Christian Church, also called Central Church, has sites across Nevada and the globe. Central Church has one location in Australia and Mexico and offers live streams of services for worshipers around the world.
- Location: Greenland, NH
Bethany Church has three campuses for worshipers to visit. In order to become a member of the church, people must attend two Discovery Class Sessions, go to a worship service, and meet one-on-one with a pastor.
- Location: Newark, NJ
The Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart is the fifth-largest cathedral in North America. The cathedral is based on Jeremiah O'Rourke's English-Irish Gothic designs. Construction began in 1899 and wasn't completed until 1954. Today, the church stands 323 feet high and covers 45,000 square feet.
- Location: Albuquerque, NM
Calvary Chapel of Albuquerque's mission is to “connect up,” “connect in,” and “connect out.” Unlike other founders of megachurches, the Rev. Skip Heitzig once struggled to maintain his faith. Later, after a profound experience with God, Heitzig started a Bible study that later turned into Calvary Chapel of Albuquerque.
- Location: Brooklyn, NY
Founded by the Rev. A. R. Bernard in 1978, Christian Cultural Center's congregation now encompasses more than 43,000 members. Bernard held a role on President Trump's evangelical religious advisory board but became the first member to quit as a result of Trump's response to violent outbreaks in Charlottesville, Va.
- Location: Charlotte, NC
St. Matthew Catholic is the largest Catholic parish in the U.S. Since the parish was announced in September 1989, it has grown to serve more than 34,000 members each week.
- Location: Fargo, ND
Hope Lutheran Church is expanding, with its newest location scheduled to open in 2019. According to their official website, Hope Lutheran Church is dedicated to “passionate discipleship,” “innovative outreach,” and “unparalleled acts of service.”
- Location: Cincinnati, OH
In 1995, a group of 11 friends started a Bible study that later evolved into Crossroads. Today, Crossroads has multiple locations across Ohio, and it offers a Kids' Club, student ministries, community service, and more.
- Location: Edmond, OK
Life.Church, formerly known as LifeChurch.tv, changed its name in 2016 for its 20th anniversary. This evangelical church offers members opportunities to serve on local and global missions and through community service.
- Location: Tualatin, OR
Rolling Hills Community Church was founded by seminarian Dale Ebel in 1975. Since the church was established, Rolling Hills has emphasized using small groups as a means to “reach the world one person at a time.”
- Location: Manheim, PA
LCBC, shorthand for Lives Changed by Christ, is a non-denominational church with 14 locations scattered throughout Pennsylvania. Today, LCBC experiences a weekly average of more than 17,000.
- Location: Smithfield, RI
New Life Worship Center was established in 1988 as a storefront chapel. The church experienced rapid growth and has since founded four more locations in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
- Location: Wichita, SC
NewSpring Church offers services at 14 locations across South Carolina. NewSpring places an emphasis on music during worship. Visitors can expect to hear traditional songs, parishioner-written songs, and more.
- Location: Sioux Falls, SD
Celebrate Church, located in Sioux Falls, S.D., is looking to expand its reach with church plants. Celebrate's goal is to plant at least 50 churches in 10 years. Existing church plants are located in Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.
- Location: Las Vegas, NV
Throughout Hope Church's history, services have been held in a living room, in a rented room at a restaurant, and in a school gymnasium, all before building its first permanent space in the ‘90s. Congregants who attend Hope Church belong to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
- Location: Houston, TX
Lakewood Church is the largest megachurch in the United States. Over 50,000 attendees go to Lakewood each week and another 10 million Americans view its services on television. The church has seen massive financial gains since its humble beginnings, as the church spent $90 million in the 2016 fiscal year.
- Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Salt Lake Temple is the only church belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to make this list. Although Temple Square attracts millions of visitors each year and is the most visited attraction in Utah, only church members in good standing are allowed to enter the temple.
- Location: Essex Junction, VT
Essex Alliance Church in Vermont belongs to the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Essex's mission and reason for existence is “exaltation, edification, and evangelization.”
- Location: McLean, VA
McLean Bible Church began in 1961 as a non-denominational church. Today, McLean Bible Church has five locations in the Washington D.C. metro area, serving thousands of congregants each week.
- Location: Redmond, WA
Overlake Christian Church (OCC) markets itself as a church where “no perfect people [are] allowed.” Perspective OCC members must enroll in the Rooted 101 class before joining the church's membership.
- Location: Morgantown, WV
Chestnut Ridge Church in Morgantown, W.Va., features auditorium-style seating, fresh coffee, and a casual environment. Church typically last for an hour and children's programs are offered during all Sunday services.
- Location: Brookfield, WI
Elmbrook Church offers multiple services each week at one of its three locations. The non-denominational church's mission is to help people “become rooted in Jesus.”
- Location: Casper, WY
Highland Park Community Church was founded in 1952 as a house church. More than six decades later, Highland Park Community Church now provides four services each Sunday, and houses more than 100 community groups.