The 10 Largest Churches in the US and Their Initial Online Impression

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Numbers can mean a lot of things to a lot of people within the ministry space. For some it suggests that God has blessed this particular ministry and for others it suggests something fundamentally wrong.

Isn’t it strange how we can interpret numbers so differently?

Regardless of where you land, it would be a fascinating study to see whether ministries see an increase of attendance based on their initial impression via their web property.

Now that would be a neat study. To get us started, here’s a list of the top 10 biggest churches in the US, according to Outreach Magazine and a look at their online properties…

#1 – Lakewood Church

Website: Lakewood Church
Location:
Houston, Texas
Total attendance: 43,500
Pastor: Joel Osteen

#2 – LifeChurch.tv

Website: LifeChurch.tv
Location: Based in Edmond, Oklahoma
Total attendance: 26,776
Pastor: Craig Groeschel

#3 – Willow Creek Community Church

Website: Willow Creek Community Church
Location: South Barrington, Illinois
Total attendance: 23,400
Pastor: Bill Hybels

#4 – North Point Community Church

Website: North Point Community Church
Location: Alpharetta, Georgia
Total attendance: 23,377
Pastor: Andy Stanley

#5 – Second Baptist Church

Website: Second Baptist Church
Location: Houston, Texas
Total attendance: 22,723
Pastor: Ed Young, Sr.

#6 – Saddleback Church

Website: Saddleback Church
Location: Lake Forest, California
Total attendance: 22,418
Pastor: Rick Warren

#7 – Fellowship Church

Website: Fellowship Church
Location: Grapevine, Texas
Total attendance: 18,355
Pastor: Ed Young, Jr.

#8 – Southeast Christian Church

Website: Southeast Christian Church
Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Total attendance: 17,261
Pastor: Dave Stone

#9 – Woodlands Church

Website: Woodlands Church
Location: The Woodlands, Texas
Total attendance: 17,142
Pastor: Kerry Shook

#10 – Calvary Chapel of Fort Lauderdale

Website: Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Total attendance: 15,921
Pastor: Bob Coy

John Saddington

I am the CEO of 8BIT and a Full Time Entrepreneur/a>. I like what I do.

We have 31 comments...
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  1. Scott says

    Very interesting. Second Baptist’s is shocking. Almost scary, but it definitely gets your attention! LOL (Power up!)

  2. Ben says

    I think I was more surprised at the lack of African-American headed churches in the list. All of these churches are predominantly white. Just an interesting sociological thing. I think the more interesting study would be the Saddington effect, how one guy is changing how Christians blog and use technology. Maybe I should write that…

    • Matthew Snider says

      I would agree on this, too busy if you ask me. We are reworking our site now and I hope the layout suits and looks something totally different than these.

  3. Brandon Cox says

    I love seeing all of these together and to see my new ministry home at #6 on the list gives me some warm fuzzies! Fascinating to notice the diversity of approaches, proving that multiple methods are workable.

  4. says

    I’m working on a study very much like the one you mention, John.

    It’s about two-thirds done, in a series called Church Demographics and Congregational Websites. It’s looking primarily at small- and medium-sized ELCA congregations’ websites, and it’s a relatively large-N study (about 100 churches). It focuses less on design aesthetics and more on accessibility and basic content. You might find it interesting.

  5. Daniel says

    I like 1, 7 and 10.

    They seem like websites I’d like to go back to.

    I especially like 10, since it seems like a website I’d like to get involved in. It reminds me of the abort73 website. Perhaps that is what it was based off of.

    I don’t like 4. Its an otherwise good design, but on the left it says married, singles, etc.

    Well for what? If I click on married couples, what will I get? Devotionals for married couples? Devotionals for singles?

    I guess it really depends on the person. For me, the #10 website is great because it has a lot of functionality. Other people might be turned off by the vast amount of information presented.

    Also, I don’t know how long I would stick with it, because it is very ingrained with BEING there. Since I don’t go to the school or the church, I don’t think I would feel very welcome at the website.

    Anyways, I don’t think people realize how important first impressions are. I don’t know about other people, but when I look for a website, I google a couple of different phrases, and then click the first 6 or so that come up, letting them sit in tabs. I end up getting about 20 or 30 tabs, and then I sort through them. A quick 5 second glance will determine if I hit ctrl+w(close) or if I leave it and click the next one.

    • Daniel says

      I just looked at saddleback again, it looks like something I’d like. Something I can easily add to google reader.

      It has community resources, and it also has “many locations” at the top which sounds nice. Not sure what it means, but it makes me think I can go to saddleback even if I don’t live near the main one.

  6. says

    I’d love to see the Facebook landing page & metrics for each of these. The website is one thing, but I’m curious to see how people are communicating with the church & about the church.

  7. robdob says

    does it seem odd that none of these sites have a mobile version? is a phone-ready version of a church site unnecessary? a luxury?

  8. says

    LifeChurch just updated there site. But I’m really surprised at how many of these look “blocky” and while I really like the full image of 2nd Baptist you can’t like pause the video and it left me anxious just to get off the site.

  9. Stefan Dwornik says

    Well I sought an answer to a question, so if you want to know something as trivial as would I wear a “”follow@Jesus” hat? To be honest I have no problem wearing a “follow Jesus” hat. I’d be handing out to everyone I know or come in contact with a hat that said like;” Seek the Truth in all you do,say, and think- begin your relationship W/JESUS! Or:”Seek the truth, and the door Shall be opened”.
    Sounds familiar; the Father and Son do not control the truth, they are the TRUTH. Just as God is also known as LOVE, and how have we thanked him for sacrificing is only Son to the brutality of man, so we might know the power of Forgiveness, and MORE? By poisoning the land, water, we’re killing the ocean, mothers killing their children, Fathers killing whole families, killing for the $20 in the register, children killing children. Time is over: Seek the Truth From God and Christ. This is a personal journey between you and God: not you, the church, and GOD. So, if the hat promotes any church on line, and not the Truth, I’ll never put that on my head. God& Jesus are not a business, and yet mankind pays billions to churches who openly ask for their money. Jesus did not just whip the money changers out of the temple, for setting up a for man profit on God’s holy ground. The Catholic church is looked on with scorn from many of the other ‘Christian ministries’, you will be unhappy that God will soon reveal the TRUTH, and my ‘good judgement’ says you also will not be happy with the truth, and it’s consequences for us all. The low high, and the high, very low. War, civil process shall stop,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, stay tuned

  10. Carrie says

    Fellowship Church looks the most inviting, just from the screenshot. Not sure why people are shocked by Second Baptist…holding hands? Not sure why that is shocking. Calvary looks pretty good too, love the Hebrew on its page.
    Saddleback, is emergent, and their screenshot is indicative of that, I would definitely not look at any emergent church.

    CCD

    • Eddie says

      What? Saddleback emergent? I would never have used that term to describe Saddleback. Been there many times and personally know staff… I dont understand that comment…

  11. zach says

    What about the Mormons vernal conference at salt lake? They are 4th largest in us over 14 million members at a high increase rate. Pose to be 2 nd only to Catholics in 2050.

  12. says

    The questions I always ask when someone talk about a mega church are the following:

    Is the members getting the word to keep them out of hell?

    Are they growing spiritually?

    God doesn’t dwell in temples build by hands, he dwell in temple built by “Him” which is your brothers and sisters.

    Worship God and not the # of people or the building and everything will be alright!

    God bless!

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