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The interior of Lakewood Church, the largest church in the United States

A megachurch is a large church characterized by weekly attendance of 2000 people or more, an active congregational community, a large number of outreach and social ministries, and several other criteria.

While some Catholic churches may fulfil most of the criteria for a megachurch, the term is usually only applied to Protestant churches.[1] A substantial number of megachurches are non-denominational, and most that are associated with denominations are Baptist, Evangelical, or Pentecostal, as opposed to more traditional denominations such as the United Methodist Church.[2] Frequently, those megachurches that are denominationally-affiliated do not promote their affiliation to as to not dissuade people who oppose that denomination from attending or joining.

Specific examples

  • Joel Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas draws 40,000 in weekly attendance. Lakewood Church is a former stadium equipped with lights and large flatscreen televisions. It manages a multi-million dollar television ministry. The largest church in America, it is also among the best examples of a megachurch.
  • Crystal Cathedral, in Garden Grove, California, was built by a famous architect and is known for its music. It is constructed of thousands of panes of glass, holds nearly 3000 worshippers, and boasts one of the largest pipe organs in the world.[4]

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