MEGACHURCHES & California Map From Center for Religion & Civic Culture

@djchuang #found a “handy-dandy Google Maps map of California Megachurches” from the Center for Religion & Civic Culture

Adapted from the description provided by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research.

When researchers talk about “megachurches,” they are generally referring to any Protestant congregation with a sustained average weekly attendance of 2,000 persons or more in its worship services. There are nearly 1,600 megachurches in the United States, in addition to many more located throughout the world. Attendance at U.S. megachurches averages almost 4,000 people, with the largest, Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, averaging approximately 45,000 people attending services each week. The largest megachurches however are located abroad, with the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, Korea averaging 240,000 in weekly attendance (480,000 including satellite campuses.) In California, there are 191 megachurches, comprising a total attendance of about 765,000 each week. The largest megachurch in the state is Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, with over 22,000 regularly attending weekly worship services.

While size is what most observers—whether researchers, journalists or attenders—note as the defining characteristic of these congregations, megachurches in the United States also share many other traits. For example, almost all megachurches have a conservative theology, even those within mainline denominations, and most identify as evangelical.  Many are nondenominational churches but the majority are affiliated with a denomination, although often those who attend thse churches are unaware of their denominational affiliation. (Note that most people consider Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church to be nondenominational, but it is actually a member of the Southern Baptist denomination.)

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