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Megachurch-Oriented Cities Researched, Ranked by Barna Group

The Barna Group has reported on the results of a survey of the most and least “megachurch-oriented” cities in the nation, i.e., cities which have the highest and lowest concentration of megachurch attenders among the Christians who live there. The Barna Group defines “megachurch” as congregations with 1,000 attendees or more.

Las Vegas, Nev., has the highest percentage of megachurch-attenders in the nation with 29 percent of Christians in the area attending one. Twenty-seven percent of Christian residents of Baton Rouge, La., and 21 percent of Christians in Tampa/St. Petersburg area attend megachurches. Other cities with significant percentages of megachurch attenders include Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas (19 percent), Houston, Texas (19 percent), Albuquerque/Santa Fe, N.M., (19 percent) and Orlando, Fla. (18 percent).

The three least megachurch-oriented cities in the nation, with 1 percent of local Christians attending, are Salt Lake City, Utah, Toledo, Ohio, and Madison, Wis.

Derek Neider, senior pastor of Calvary Chapel Spring Valley in Las Vegas, told The Christian Post that a population explosion in the region, coupled with the “transient” nature of the people living in the city, are reasons for the growth of megachurches there. “The city’s kind of like an island … So, if your vision’s not to plant more churches in the Valley, then the very nature of that means that the church is just going to inherently grow.”

“What’s unique about Vegas is it’s a place that’s known,” Neider continued. “I travel all over the world, you know, and it’s globally known as ‘Sin City.’ But I think God takes a lot of pleasure in doing a work of salvation among the people that live here, and the tourists. Just the very nature that we’re having a conversation about megachurches in Vegas, really, the miracle of it is what I hope isn’t lost on people,” he said.