Newly released research into the growth of megachurches has suggested that Pastor Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, remains the largest church in America, with a weekend attendance totaling 52,000 people.
Church Growth Today, a research center led by John N. Vaughan since 1980, said in a statement that Osteen’s congregation remains the largest in America when it comes to weekend attendance, noting that the church has seen a growth of 7,200 people since 2010.
What is more, the church has five times as many followers as it did when it was led by founding Pastor John Osteen, who died in 1999.
The research also shows that 27 new megachurches have increased church attendance since 2010, though 39 others have dropped below 2,000 in weekly attendance, which is the baseline of what constitutes a megachurch, as established by Vaughan.
“This newest research indicates that among the 100 largest churches 60 percent are growing, 20 percent have plateaued, and only 11 percent have decreased in attendance during the past five years,” Vaughan added.
He further notes that one reason why some megachurches are seeing a gain in attendance has to do with multi-site locations, with three in four of the 100 largest churches hosting multi-site congregations.
So while Lakewood Church remains the largest single-site church, Life.Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, which has 25 sites in seven states, gathers as many as 70,000 people weekly.
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SOURCE: The Christian Post