2016 Largest Participating Churches
The shape of the American megachurch is constantly shifting.
What are the churches at the forefront of the movement and how are they innovating?
Each year, the Lifeway Research team surveys churches, verifies the numbers, calculates the results and compiles the lists. In preparation for this annual report, they solicited participation from more than 13,000 churches. Through the process, they were contacted multiple times by email and fax. This is a self-reported survey, based on attendance averages, not membership. Churches that participated answered questions about their 2023 in-person, weekend attendance averages for February and March as compared to their 2022 numbers.
To provide as complete of a list as possible for the Largest Churches, in addition to the Lifeway Research survey, we drew numbers from Hartford Institute for Religion Research—which is not a survey, but is secondary research drawn from publicly available attendance data. This included the church’s own website, year-end reports, public interviews and attendance reporting in sermons online. We integrated that public data with the self-reported survey from Lifeway. Whenever the survey and the public data reported on the same church, we reported the church’s response to the survey. Although we go to great lengths to confirm data, the information is reported by pastors, staff or church officers, or was publicly available at the time the information was collected. The timing of these attendance estimates varies. As such, the reporting reflects their perception and the attendance figures they have published on the internet or disclosed in services. And, of course, this is a survey (for those who responded) or a publicly available number (for those on the Hartford site, HIRR.Hartsem.edu ). This is not an investigation of those numbers, but is a survey and list.Explore the Outreach 100 study and how your church can participate in the coming years »