Christianity, in its various denominational expressions, is an important part of the American story. Some denominations came to America from Europe while others started on American soil. The size of a denomination doesn’t tell their whole story, but it does tell part of it.
Southern Baptist is the largest Protestant denomination in America with 16 million members. The United Methodist Church is second with 7.6 million members. The National Baptist Convention is third with 5 million members. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is fourth with 4.1 million members.
The charts below lists the 100 largest Christians denominations in America, largest to smallest. The figures mostly come from denominational records and census surveys. Keep reading to learn more.
Historic Christian branches by size
Some consider Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and Eastern Orthodoxy to be different religions, while others consider them different Christian denominations. Membership numbers for these three traditional branches of the Christian faith are given first. The Top 100 Protestant denominations come next.
|Traditional Branch||Population in America|
|Roman Catholicism||51 million|
|Eastern Orthodox||6 million|
51 million is the number of baptized members in America that the Roman Catholic Church reports. Protestantism has no central ecclesiastical authority like Catholicism, so the number 141 million comes from the membership totals of all Protestant denominations put together. The Eastern Orthodox Church self-reports 6 million members in America. 
Largest Protestant denominations
Men like Martin Luther in Germany, John Calvin in France, and Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland led the Protestant Reformation. As noted below, other Protestant denominations started in the 17, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries in Europe and in America.
Four of the top 10 denominations are Baptist. The Baptist denomination has flourished in American history. Baptist traditions have grown in America due in part to overlapping values. Baptists, like Americans, prize independence and individualism. Having a congregational church polity also mirrors American democracy for many people.
Three of the top 10 churches have roots in England. The United Methodist Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Episcopal Church have roots in England, which explains in part why during the time of the American Revolution, these denominations failed to grow like others did. Nevertheless, the movement John Wesley began remains strong in the 21st century.
Two of the top 10 denominations are Lutheran. Germany, the home of Martin Luther, was the epicenter of the Protestant Reformation. Germany’s influence in Europe and America in the last 500 years has contributed to the success of Lutheran branches of Protestant Christianity. German and European migration to America bolstered the Lutheran church.
Please note: In some cases, the founding date listed reflects the theological beliefs of each particular denomination, which some historians may question. A founding date may also reflect when a particular denomination split from its original tradition and became its own organization.
|1||Southern Baptist Convention||16 million|
|2||United Methodist Church||7.6 million|
|3||National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.||5 million|
|4||Evangelical Lutheran Church in America||4.1 million|
|5||Assemblies of God||3.1 million|
|6||National Missionary Baptist Convention of America||2.5 million|
|7||African Methodist Episcopal Church||2.5 million|
|8||Baptist General Conference of Texas||2.4 million|
|9||Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod||2.2 million|
|10||Episcopal Church||2 million|
The Assemblies of God denomination is perhaps the most surprising name in the Top 10 simply because of it’s age. At just over 100 years old, the Pentecostal evangelical denomination is one of the fastest growing Christian movements the world has ever seen. While some Protestant denominations are experiencing record decreases in church membership and affiliation, Assemblies of God continues to grow at a steady rate. 
Largest Protestant denominations: 11-20
Baptist and Pentecostal traditions account for seven of the next 10 denominations on this list.
Presbyterianism: Some Presbyterian denominations have experienced declines in recent decades, which some attribute to their embrace of progressive political and social ideologies. Other Presbyterian denominations, though lower in membership numbers, continue to hold firm to the teachings of founder John Calvin, the French Reformer.
Seventh-Day Adventists: Many Protestant denominations began in Europe, such as Lutheran, Methodism, and Presbyterianism. The largest American-born denomination is Assemblies of God, which traces its roots to Arkansas in the early 20th century. Seventh-Day Adventist church started on American soil in upstate New York in the mid 19th century.
|11||Pentecostal Assemblies of the World||1.8 million|
|12||Presbyterian Church (USA)||1.7 million|
|13||Christian Churches and Churches of Christ||1.4 million|
|14||American Baptist Churches in the USA||1.2 million|
|15||Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee)||1.1 million|
|16||Church of God in Christ||1.1 million|
|17||Seventh-Day Adventists||1.1 million|
|18||Armenian Apostolic Church, Diocese of America||1,010,000|
|19||Cooperative Baptist Fellowship||1 million|
|20||Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.||1 million|
Largest Protestant denominations: 21-30
Reflecting America’s history of immigration, Christian denominations that include cultural traditions from a particular country appear below. Specifically, the Russian Orthodox Church and the Greek Orthodox Church are listed, like the Armenian Apostolic church is on the table above.
Calvary Chapel: It’s important to note that although Calvary Chapel is Protestant in theology, its founders didn’t consider a denomination. Instead, Calvary Chapel churches prefer to be called an “association” of like-minded churches. Since this association meets the definition of a Christian denomination generally speaking, they are on the list.
|21||United Church of Christ||915,000|
|22||Church of the Nazarene||906,000|
|23||Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)||690,000|
|24||United Pentecostal Church International||646,000|
|25||Eastern Rite Catholic, Uniate Churches||500,000|
|27||Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia||480,000|
|28||Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of North America||476,878|
|29||Full Gospel Fellowship of Churches and Ministers||432,000|
|30||The Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA)||429,000|
Largest Protestant denominations: 31-40
One reason there are a lot of Christian denominations in America is because its laws espouse the freedom of religion for its citizens. The Church and State are not intertwined in America like they are in many other countries and the government largely stays out of ecclesiastical affairs.
As a result of America’s religion freedom, people can start churches, and even denominations, without threat of persecution or government interference. Other countries have since established such freedoms, but in America they have been cultural value since before the American Revolution in the 18th century.
|31||The Salvation Army||414,000|
|32||Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod||385,000|
|34||Presbyterian Church in America||370,000|
|35||Evangelical Free Church of America||357,000|
|36||International Pentecostal Holiness Church||330,000|
|37||African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church||301,000|
|38||Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ||300,000|
|39||Bible Way Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ||300,000|
|40||Coptic Orthodox Churches||300,000|
Largest Protestant denominations: 41-50
The history of Christian denominations in America partly reflects the history of America itself. Some argue that the issue of slavery has shaped American history unlike any other national matter. Racial issues affect Christian churches before, during, and after the Civil War.
The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church listed below started in 1870 in Jackson, Tennessee. African-American Methodist ministers wanted to organize a church, including ordaining and electing their own leaders, without having to seek the approval of white Methodist leaders.
In 2012, the C.M.E. denomination entered into “full union” with other historic African-American denominations as well as the United Methodist Church.
|41||Christian Methodist Episcopal Church||291,000|
|42||Converge Worldwide (Baptist General Conference)||260,000|
|43||International Church of the Foursquare Gospel||255,000|
|44||National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.||246,000|
|45||Reformed Church in America||246,000|
|46||Christian Reformed Church in North America||238,000|
|47||Church of God (Anderson, Indiana)||233,000|
|48||Evangelical Covenant Church||231,000|
|49||American Baptist Association||203,000|
Largest Protestant denominations: 51-60
Amish churches trace their roots to 16th-century Europe and the Anabaptist movement, which didn’t consider itself Catholic or Protestant. Persecuted in Europe, the descendants of the Amish community in America migrated to Pennsylvania in the 18th century. Largely separate from not only other Christian churches, but from society in general, Amish communities are found in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and elsewhere today.
|51||Conservative Baptist Association of America (CBA)||200,000|
|52||Vineyard Churches International||186,000|
|53||National Association of Free Will Baptists||185,800|
|54||Evangelical Presbyterian Church||150,000|
|55||North American Lutheran Church||140,000|
|56||Baptist Missionary Association of America||138,000|
|57||General Association of Regular Baptist Churches||133,000|
|58||International Churches of Christ||128,000|
|59||Christian Congregation, Inc.||122,000|
|60||Church of the Brethren||114,000|
Vineyard Churches International (see above) was originally part of the Calvary Chapel network of churches from southern California. In the early to mid-1970’s, a group within Calvary Chapel churches desired to emphasize certain supernatural gifts of the Spirit like speaking in tongues and exorcising demons. The leaders of Calvary Chapel churches preferred the private exercise of such gifts and so the Vineyard group started their own church.
Largest Protestant denominations: 61-70
The Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (see below) is one of several Messianic Jewish traditions in the United States. Members of this church believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the long-awaited Messiah spoken of in the Hebrew Scriptures, i.e the Christian “Old Testament,” which makes them Christians. Yet they retain certain Jewish practices and traditions.
|61||Anglican Church in North America||112,504|
|62||Baptist Bible Fellowship International||110,000|
|63||Free Methodist Church of North America||110,000|
|64||Mennonite Churches USA||105,000|
|65||Orthodox Church in America (Russian Orthodox)||100,000|
|66||ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians||100,000|
|67||Continuing Anglican Churches||100,000|
|68||Messianic Jewish Alliance of America||100,000|
|69||Southwide Independent Baptist Fellowship||100,000|
|70||Pentecostal Church of God||98,600|
The Anglican tradition has been in America for centuries, so why was the Anglican Church in North America (see above) founded in 2009? In the early 21st century, many denominations formed as a consequence of two groups splitting, being unable to reconcile their differences.
From 2003 to 2009, Anglican denominations in America disagreed about the ordination of a gay bishop in New Hampshire. The Anglican Church in North America started as a result of that controversy and is made up various Anglican groups that opposed the ordination.
Largest Protestant denominations: 71-80
All Baptists have common beliefs about practices like believers baptism, which holds that only professing Christians can be baptized, so not infants. Baptists also agree on the autonomy of local churches and the separation of Church and State. Baptists have diverse views on matters like salvation.
Some Baptists are Arminian and others are Calvinist. The General Association of General Baptists (see below) is Arminian. Historically, Calvinist Baptists are often called “Particular Baptists.” The word “particular” refers to Christ only dying for “particular” people (i.e. the doctrine of Limited Atonement) as opposed to all people.
|71||Church of God of Prophecy||98,500|
|72||General Association of General Baptists||95,000|
|73||Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America||75,000|
|74||Cumberland Presbyterian Church||71,000|
|75||Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church and Mar Thomas Orthodox Syrian Church||70,000|
|76||Serbian Orthodox Church in North and South America||67,000|
|77||North American Baptist Conference||65,000|
|78||National Association of Congregational Churches||63,000|
|80||Grace Gospel Fellowship||60,000|
Grace Gospel Fellowship (see above) is a cooperative fellowship of premillennial dispensational churches. Members hold to the central orthodox beliefs of the Christian faith and emphasize the doctrine of the end times. GGF doctrine states that God has different plans of salvation for Jews and Gentiles, which the majority of premillennialists in other churches and denominations don’t believe.
Largest Protestant denominations: 81-90
The Reformed Catholic Church (see below) has more liberal and progressive practices than the Roman Catholic Church. For example, it offers an open communion table to all people, including gay and lesbian attendees. The denomination denies the infallibility of the Pope as well.
|81||Reformed Catholic Church||57,000|
|82||Korean American Presbyterian Church||55,000|
|83||National Primitive Baptist Convention, USA||53,600|
|86||Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA||50,000|
|87||Conservative Congregational Christian Conference||43,000|
|88||Church of the Living God (CWFF)||42,000|
|89||Plymouth Brethren (Christian Brethren)||42,500|
|90||Association of Free Lutheran Congregations||41,000|
The first bishop from the Ukraine Orthodox Church (see above) came to America in 1924. Today, the majority of this denomination’s members live in Pennsylvania and New York state.
Largest Protestant denominations: 91-100
The Friends United Meetings organized in the early 20th century as a group of like-minded Quakers who sought fellowship and effectiveness in missions. Today, they have ministries all around the world.
|91||Albanian Orthodox Archdiocese in America||40,000|
|93||Church of God and Saints of Christ||40,000|
|95||Friends United Meeting||36,000|
|96||US Mennonite Brethren Churches||36,000|
|97||Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, North American Diocese||35,000|
|98||Friends General Conference||35,000|
|99||Alliance of Baptist Churches||35,000|
|100||Evangelical Friends Church, International||34,500|
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