California Home to Most of America’s Megachurches; Tennessee Has Most Megachurches Per Capita

photo-of-a-MEGACHURCH

Tennessee can now back its moniker as the “buckle of the Bible Belt” with solid numbers.

In a new visualization from Vox, Tennessee is revealed to be one of eight states that has more than 50 megachurches within its borders, as well as the state with the most megachurches per capita. Tennessee’s 67 megachurches is second to only four other states: California (219), Texas (207), Florida (120) and Georgia (91).

A megachurch is a large Protestant congregation with an average weekly attendance of 2,000-plus at its worship services. Affiliations such as nondenominational, Southern Baptist, Baptist, Assemblies of God, Christian, Calvary Chapel and United Methodist are included in this data.

“Megachurches are disproportional evangelical,” said Ed Stetzer, the executive director of LifeWay Research. “So where there is a concentration of evangelicals there will be more megachurches. … I expect to see this in Tennessee, in Texas, in places that you think of as evangelical.”

This constantly growing phenomenon, like Stetzer said, is more common in the southeast corner of the United States, where a higher concentration of evangelical Christians live.

Nashville has 11 megachurches, which is more than the entire country had in 1960, Stetzer said. As a general rule, megachurches tend to spring up more commonly in metropolitan areas, but are not excluded from less-populated areas, like the state’s two megachurches in Clarksville.

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SOURCE: The Tennessean
Autumn Allison, aallison@tennessean.com

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