- Shelia Poole The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, led by Pastor Andy Stanley, was recently named the second-largest mega church in the nation.
According to “ 24/7 Wall St.” many of the 25 largest churches are located in Florida or Texas, but North Point is among the exceptions. In fact, North Point is the only Georgia-based church included on the list.
North Point Ministries has an average weekly attendance of 30,629. The church was founded in 1995. It’s unclear whether the list includes attendance at all North Point churches, although on its website, NPM said more than 30,000 people attend services at all locations.
Over the years, North Point added other locations including Buckhead Church, Browns Bridge Church, Woodstock City Church, Gwinnett Church and Decatur City Church
On the church’s website, it tells the story of Stanley who stood in front of a gathering of people at a North Atlanta convention center and “cast the vision for a new church. He said, ‘Atlanta does not need another church. What Atlanta does need is a safe environment where the unchurched can come and hear the life-changing truth that Jesus Christ cares for them and died for their sins’."
Andy Stanley is the son of the Rev. Charles Stanley of senior pastor of First Baptist Church Atlanta and founder of In Touch Ministries,
To determine which church made the list, 24/7 Wall St. , a company that provides financial news and opinion, compiled weekly attendance figures for the congregations of megachurches with data from the Hartford Institute for Religion research. A megachurch is defined as having regular weekly attendance of at least 2,000 people.
Most of the churches on the list are The nation’s largest churches are independent and non-denominational.
The 25 largest churches in the U.S.:
- Lakewood Church — Houston
- North Point Community Church — Alpharetta, Ga.
- Life Church — Edmond, Okla.
- Gateway Church — Southlake, Texas
- Willow Creek Community Church — South Barrington, Ill.
- Fellowship Church — Grapevine, Texas
- Christ’s Church of the Valley — Peoria, Ariz.
- New Spring Church — Anderson, S.C.
- Elevation Church — Matthews, N.C.
- Church of the Highlands — Birmingham, Ala.
- Saddleback Church — Lake Forest, Calif.
- Southeast Christian Church — Louisville, Ky.
- Central Christian Church — Henderson, Nevada
- Dream City Church — Phoenix, Ariz.
- Second Baptist Church — Houston, Texas
- Christ Fellowship — Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
- Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale — Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
- Woodlands Church — The Woodlands, Texas
- Eagle Brook Church — Centerville, Minn.
- Cornerstone Church — San Antonio, Texas
- Christ the King Community Church — Burlington, Wash.
- Calvary Albuquerque — Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Crossroads — Cincinnati, Ohio
- McLean Bible Church — McLean, Va.
- The Potter’s House — Dallas, Texas
Many of the churches, though large, have smaller community groups that give members a more intimate experience. They tend to appeal to a younger demographic, embracing state-of-the-art technology with Bible apps, live-streamed sermons, Christian rock music performances and active youth ministries. Some , like North Point, also have vibrant children’s programs.