The Largest Churches in the World

On July 4th, 1776 the King of England infamously wrote in his journal: "Nothing happened today."  Of course, that was the day the US declared it's freedom - something had happened - something bigger than almost any event in world history.  But he hadn't heard of it yet, so he assumed nothing happened.  

I feel that this is how so many of us can become if we are not careful - we assume if we haven't heard of it, it hasn't happened.  It's so easy for Christians and non-Christians to base their view of Jesus and the Church on what they have seen in their home church, or churches they know of nearby or nationwide.  Unless they do further research, they can easily miss some exciting brands of Christianity taking place within our own generation.

-Where is the world's largest church building?  Most people might assume some cathedral in Europe or Joel Osteen's former basketball arena which seats 18,000.  Actually, from research, the largest church building in the world is in Nigeria, Africa and seats 50,000 people (shown in the picture).

-Where is the world's largest church (attendance wise?)  Most people might again assume Europe or the US.  The largest church in the US is Joel Osteen's, who took Lakewood from 6,000 to 45,000 in just a few years (however, even India has a mega-church as big as Osteen's).  The second largest church in the US happens to be a few minutes down the road from Lakewood and has an attendance of over 24,000, pastored by Ed Young sr (who's son is also pastoring one of the ten largest churches in the US).  The largest youth group I know of in the US is in Alabama and is called the Basement with 5,000-7,000 youth gathering each week for church.  

Actually, the largest church attendances are outside of the US and Europe.  The largest church in the world is in South Korea - Yoido Full Gospel Church, an Assembly of God church in Seoul, with more than 840,000 members (makes Osteen's church look like a small group).  My older brother had a chance to visit another large church in Bogota, Columbia with over 250,000 members.  He sat in a youth group service held in a soccer stadium with more than 70,000 youth that meet each week for youth group.  There are dozens of other churches over 100,000 members around the world.  It's hard to keep up with all the stories of what is taking place.

-What country has the most Christian adherents?  The US has the highest population of Christians in a single country, however, what is shocking is that China has the second highest adherents to Christianity.  In China, it is illegal to be a Christian and churches outside of the national church are persecuted.  The house church movement in China makes up a approximately a fourth of the population of the US!  Christianity in China has defied all odds, moving forward explosively with little or no outside influence.  Christians in China are radical.  An example of Chinese faith is the Back to Jerusalem movement, where tens of thousands of Chinese Christians are marching from China to Israel, evangelizing everyone the meet along the way.  The two agreements made for this march: one must be willing to die for Christ and one must be willing to never see family or friends again.  Other countries have surprising populations of Christians - in fact most do.  While Christianity is losing ground in some areas of the Western world, it is quite literally exploding in the Southern hemisphere and Asia:

-There are more pentecostal (Assemblies of God) Christians in the country of Brazil alone, than in the entire mormon religion worldwide!

-In the 1950's the average size of an evangelical church in the country of Argentina was just 7 members.  Today in Argentina, dozens of churches are 20,000, 30,0000 or even 50,000 members strong.  My wife and I had the opportunity to do mission there and went to a church with 14 services a week - one every day of the week, and 7 on Sunday.  Even with so many services, we literally waited in line to get into church!  The place was packed.

-One little known evangelist in the Western world, named Reinhard Bonnke held a outreach in Africa in 2001, in which over a million people (over 1,200,000) responded to a single altar call for conversion in one night!  Although he is little known in the US, he has most likely preached the Gospel to more people than anyone in world history.