Churches affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention found their way on to several 2017 lists of largest congregations in America.
In a report released in December, CBS News placed NewSpring Church, of Anderson, SC, at No. 5. First Baptist Jacksonville, FL (7), Second Baptist Houston (12), Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, CA (14) and Woodlands Church, in The Woodlands, TX (26) also made the list.
In October, 24/7 Wall St. presented its own list. Fellowship Church of Grapevine, TX, pastored by Ed Young, Jr. came in at No. 6. NewSpring (8), Saddleback Valley (11), Second Baptist Houston, where Ed Young, Sr. is pastor (15), and Woodlands Church (16) also made appearances.
McLean Bible Church, identified as an “Independent, non-denominational” congregation, placed as the 24th largest church according to the study. International Mission Board President David Platt serves as teacher-pastor at the church located in McLean, VA.
Last February Outreach Magazine published its own list: “100 Largest Participating Churches 2017.” Those Southern Baptist-affiliated congregations receiving recognition include Saddleback (6) and Second Baptist Houston (12).
In 2015, LifeWay Christian Resources President Thom Rainer released a list of the Top 500 churches in the SBC. At that point, NewSpring presented the largest average attendance at 31,215, followed by Saddleback Valley in California. Three Texas congregations – Second Baptist Houston, Woodlands Church, and Prestonwood Baptist in Plano – rounded out the top five.