The 15 Largest Protestant Denominations in the United States


The Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches assembles various data on churches and denominations across North America. I recently gleaned the top 15 denominations by membership in the United States from their reports:

  1. Southern Baptist Convention: 16.2 million members
  2. The United Methodist Church: 7.8 million members
  3. The Church of God in Christ: 5.5 million members
  4. National Baptist Convention: 5.0 million members
  5. Evangelical Lutheran Church, U.S.A.: 4.5 million members
  6. National Baptist Convention of America: 3.5 million members
  7. Assemblies of God: 2.9 million members
  8. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.): 2.8 million members
  9. African Methodist Episcopal Church: 2.5 million members
  10. National Missionary Baptist Convention of America: 2.5 million members
  11. The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS): 2.3 million members
  12. The Episcopal Church: 2.0 million members
  13. Churches of Christ: 1.6 million members
  14. Pentecostal Assemblies of the World: 1.5 million members
  15. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church: 1.4 million members

Neither the Yearbook list nor this blog infers that bigger is better. To the contrary, I have noted on a number of occasions how church membership, unfortunately, is fast becoming a meaningless number. Only the Assemblies of God on this list reported membership growth from the previous year, and their growth rate was only one-half of one percent.

Nevertheless, the numbers are interesting. Does your church belong to one of these denominations? Are you in a non-denominational church? What are your reflections on this list?

Posted on March 26, 2013

With nearly 40 years of ministry experience, Thom Rainer has spent a lifetime committed to the growth and health of local churches across North America.
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  • Volodymyr says on

    Dear brothers and sisters,

    We are a family (husband, 38 years old; wife, 30 years old; two children – boys, 3 and 7 years old; husband’s mother, 63 years old) from Ukraine (Dnipro). There is currently a war in our country, and we are now in Europe. We are Christians, Protestants, and have been in Christ since 2014.

    We wish to move to the USA because we believe it is the best choice for the future of ourselves and our children. We are looking for a sponsor to apply for the U4U (United for Ukraine) program.

    If you can help us with this matter, please let us know.
    Thank you in advance and may God bless you.


  • The Seventh Day Adventist church has more members than all the daughters of the mother church. Combined. And we are true Protestants .

  • Pat Sampson says on

    The Protestant churches are collapsing and have only three future options: firstly, become throughly fundamentalist or really minimalist, since they have abandoned most of traditional Christianity and then become so reactionary that they can fall victim to a demagogue like Donald Trump and become insurrectionists.

    Or secondly, go to the other extreme by watering down all your faith by adopting a pseudo liberal perspective, and become Unitarian universalists often more politically correct, but spiritually dead.

    Finally, end the reformation and rejoin the mother church of Christianity – Catholicism. Many Lutheran theologian in Germany, where the reformation started are now saying the reformation should end. The bizarre evolution of. Protestantism in the United States is living proof that the reformation is over and the new historical research of who Martin Luther really was and why he actually did to distort Christianity and to even lie about what the early church father taught becomes painfully obvious when you see how bizarre the protestant movement has become in the United States. None of us will be able to deny that by the end of this decade.

    • Hog wash the daughters of the mother church is more Catholic than they have ever been. There is only 1 true Protestant church. And they keep the commandments of GOD and have the faith of Jesus. Mystery Babylon the mother of Harlots and the ministers of Babylon. Are all those that teach her false doctrine of devils, her cup is full of indignation. And her house is full of every unclean bird. Come out of her my people that ye receive not of her plagues.

  • I wonder how many Christians are a part of the MASC (Mutual Admiration Society Church). Is there anyone who does what Jesus did? We live for life, liberty and the pursuit of material things (happiness). We want to look good, feel good, smell good and eat well – in a nice house. How to figure this out. Look to Jesus, some might say. And sure, we ALL know that’s the answer, but still something is NOT working. But all is not lost. Let’s look at a Christ-followers like Mother Teresa. She was the kind of person that Gandhi was looking for. Gandhi, it is said, read the Bible every day – and when asked why he never became a Christian he answered something like: “I would have become one … had I ever met one.” I have to ask myself this question: Am I the reason why somebody (or manybodies) doesn’t follow Christ? And yes, Jesus intended unity and prayed for it (see John 17), but we are still dealing with dis-unity. After many hours of solitude with God – reading nothing, no phone app, no music, nothing in my hands, no distractions, just God, me and a little pain – He has shown me the problem with disunity. He has shown the problem of the world gone chaotic. And now I will tell you the answer to all the riddle of riddles. The problem is quite simple. The problem, is me. I am the source of all the problems. How? Because I’m selfish, judgemental, lustful, and a gossip. I’m also, greedy, uncompassionate, and care too much for myself. I’m not humble. I don’t put others before myself. OK, I do every now and then, put others before myself, but there are hidden motives. It one case, it’s because the person I help is someone I like – looks like me, dresses like me, watches TV like me, drives a car and has money like me – where’s perfume or cologne – doesn’t smell bad. They don’t talk weird (i.e. LOUDLY) nor say “dumb” stuff. I’m too often part of the MASC. The CRAZY thing is that I KNOW, in prayer, in church, in the Bible and how the Holy Spirit moves in circumstances – I KNOW that the MASC and the mission of God are INCOMPATIBLE!!!! It’s right there STARING AT ME in 1 Cor 13, and at the last supper (Jesus said, “[oh yeah] A new commandment I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”), and in the greatest commandment teaching and, and, and. So I look to Mother Teresa. I would greatly encourage you to get a book on Mother Teresa and read it. One that has some of what she wrote. There’s one I use every day call “Do Something Beautiful For God.” It’s only one or two sentences per day – but they are powerful. And she does NOT attend the MASC. She actually follows Jesus. There are also books that have her letters. These are powerful too. The Holy Spirit through Paul says that we should “present your bodies as a LIVING SACRIFICE, holy and pleasing to God” and that this be our spiritual worship. And I also see in MT 25 that when we serve and love the least in the world, we are actually seeing, loving and serving Christ. So where to put the blame – on me. Surely, surely we should read the Bible. And surely surely we should spend 30 minutes or 1 hour or 2 hours EVERY DAY in prayer (with 1/2 the time in SOLITUDE). And surely we should find Christ’s church. But also surely surely, we must seek God in all of our life. In going out of our home, in stopping to allow our neighbor to infringe on “our time”, loving all who cross our paths, serving God and OBEYING (no one likes that word) all He is asking us to do and living in His Heart in all of our desires, attitudes, thinking, speaking and acting. Here, I believe, is the unity we can all find if we are truly the “Christ-Followers” we say we are. It’s simple and yet complex at the same time – Jesus saying, “Come, Follow Me.” May the Holy Spirit lead me, you and all the world into the love and mission of Christ, sent by the Father. And may we, knowing that everything (every atom, electron, proton, neutron, quarks, God particle and everything small and large, seen and unseen, earth, planets, sun, moon, stars, our bloods, our eyes, our hearts, our lungs, the blood that moves through us, the air we breathe the food we eat, fingers and toes, everything) has been giving to us as a gift, live lives of incredible humility and gratitude to One who has given us everything – our Eternal Triune God. Thank You, Lord. Help us, Lord. Give us courage to detach from material things and our selfishness. Lead us, Lord – into Your heart. Change us, Lord. Use us, Lord. Use us to change the world. Now, to me, help me, Lord, to stand up and follow you as Your disciples and servants have done in the past. Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening. Courage, Lord – I need it in big doses – but mostly, I need You by me. In Your Name, Lord. In Your Name. Amen.

    • I’m not trying to be snarky, as I appreciate your heartfelt comments a great deal. But I would like to point out that there is only one book we need to read. Only one. The modern Christian of the West has a great enthusiasm for reading just one more book, attending just one more study, performing just one more ritual, etc. At the end of the day, did you take up your cross and follow Christ? That is all that is necessary. Don’t read the words of Mother Theresa. You’re not going to answer to her one day. The One who will speak to you after this age ends has already spoken. He has already sent you written word, living witnesses, and an in-dwelling spirit, the Spirit of God, to help, comfort, counsel, and guide you. The first step in the journey of faith is just that–a step. If you’re listening to God, if you’re faithful in the things already placed in your hands, if you’re loving Him with all that you are, think, feel, and do and your neighbor as yourself, then what more does your God ask of you than this–that you do what is right, love mercy and kindness, and walk humbly with your God?

  • I love God and all of his family. I’m glad I found this website. I really want to a part of the system. I want to put my name out there and I don’t want to be alone. I would appreciate it if anyone can help me get connected with all sources. I really want all of the Protestant family to know my name. I’d like to grow some roots and feel safe.

  • Like term,” lead coach. All rises& falls on leadership! Coaches can help build Leaders! Train Leaders not Followers, the Church is Desperate 4 Coached& Mentored Leaders!
    Lt Jivoff.

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