The South and her churches go together like shrimp and grits, served at Mary Mac's Tea Room each week to the thousands of churchgoers from all denominations who share the old tradition of Sunday supper.
Today, the most prominent and powerful churches in Atlanta are a collection of massive organizations with significant influence.
According to the Hartford Institute for Religious Research database, Georgia ranks behind only California and Texas in its instances of the megachurch -- those with more than 2,000 average attendees -- and Atlanta alone has more than a half dozen with over 5,000 average congregants.
Here are the largest churches in Georgia
Primarily Atlanta's megachurches that average more than 10,000 parishioners each Sunday.
North Point Community Church
Multiple Atlanta area locations. northpoint.org
Over 30,000 people make their way to Alpharetta's North Point Community Church and its satellite campuses each week. This outpaces the Atlanta Braves average game attendance (23,497) by more than 30 percent. They come to hear Andy Stanley's life-oriented, non-denominational message and to experience high production value musical performances and stage design. The modern contemporary music and 21st century approach to worship have affected millennial crossover appeal and grown the North Point brand and the work of Stanley (son of famed Dr. Charles Stanley) into the largest church in Georgia and the third largest in the nation, a distinction that comes at the cost of scrutiny.
World Changers Church
2500 Burdett Road, College Park, Ga. 30349. www.worldchangers.org.
Home to the infamous pastor Creflo Dollar, and the prosperity gospel he controversially teaches, the church received a grade of "F" for its financial transparency (or lack thereof) by Ministry Watch. Dollar's ministries have been under the investigation of the United States senate, and his lifestyle has drawn plenty of headlines -- for his ownership of two Rolls-Royces, a private jet, homes throughout the nation and undisclosed salary. And for the $65 million Gulfstream G-650 he wanted his ministry to buy. For all of that, the World Changers Church in College Park still brings more than 15,000 in each Sunday.
Free Chapel Worship Center
3001 McEver Road, Gainesville, Ga. 30504. www.freechapel.org/gainesville
The Free Chapel in Gainseville is led by senior pastor Jentezen Franklin. A sister church, Free Chapel OC, congregates in Irvine, California. Much of Franklin's visibility comes from his work on the TBN televised Kingdom Connection. The church averages 13,568 attendants.
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church
6400 Woodrow Road, Lithonia, Ga. 30038. www.newbirth.org
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, a Baptist church with Pentecostal theology unique to the denomination was led by senior pastor Eddie Long in Lithonia until his death. Though the church has deep roots (it was founded in 1939), its modern history has seen congregations swell from the 300 members, during Long's first days as senior pastor in 1987, to the more than 12,000 average weekly attendants in 2015.
Multiple Georgia locations. 12stone.com
Kevin Myers' 12Stone is a multisite church similar to North Point Community Church in the structuring of strategic campuses and shared learning technologies -- there are 12stone church campuses in Gwinnett, Hall and Bartow counties. It is among the fastest growing church organizations in the country, with 10,000 weekly attendees.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.