List of the largest Protestant denominations

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Countries by number of Protestants in 2010
Countries by percentage of Protestants in 2010

This is a list of the largest Protestant denominations. It aims to include sizeable Protestant communions, federations, alliances, councils, fellowships, and other denominational organisations in the world and provides information regarding the membership thereof. The list is inevitably partial and generally based on claims by the denominations themselves. The numbers should therefore be considered approximate and the article an ongoing work-in-progress. Protestant bodies being considered in this article are divided into:

  • transdenominational bodies with more than 50 million members
  • international bodies with more than 10 million members
  • national bodies with more than 5 million members
  • non-national bodies with more than 5 million members

In 2010, the most numerous international bodies accounted for more than a half of worldwide Protestant population,[note 1] while the most numerous national bodies accounted for more than 200 of the world's 800 million Protestants.[note 2][1]

Transdenominational organisations are very large and often characterised by overlapping membership as opposed to international and national bodies. Some of the national groupings cannot be considered churches in mainstream Protestant ecclesiology even when they constitute a single denomination. A good example is the Evangelical Church in Germany, which differs denominationally and encompasses Lutheran, Reformed and United subchurches.

Lists of the largest Protestant bodies[edit]

Transdenominational bodies[edit]

Transdenominational bodies include people across all denominations that participate in a movement which goes beyond their Protestant branch, like Evangelicalism, the Charismatic movement, or the Neo-charismatic movement. These are of international scope.

The World Evangelical Alliance is so far the only major transdenominational evangelical Protestant organization that operates internationally. It represents 600 million Christians. The Porvoo Communion brings Lutherans and Anglicans in Europe under a common communion.

Emblem Name Orientation Foundation Leadership Headquarters Region Membership Notes
Evangelische allianz germany.png World Evangelical Alliance Evangelical 1846
Freemasons' Hall, London, England[2]
Secretary-General Efraim Tendero New York City, United States Worldwide 600,000,000[3] Aims to unite Evangelicals worldwide.
Porvoo Communion Anglican
Lutheran
1992
Porvoo Cathedral, Porvoo, Finland
Co-chairmen Bishop Peter Skov-Jakobsen,
Archbishop Michael Jackson
None Europe 50,000,000[4] Communion of Anglican and Lutheran denominations in Europe.

International bodies[edit]

International bodies tend to bring together only one Protestant branch which shares common founders, tenets and history. Among the most sizeable international bodies are the Anglican Communion, the World Communion of Reformed Churches, the World Methodist Council and the Lutheran World Federation – each with more than 70 million members.

Emblem Name Orientation Foundation Leadership Headquarters Region Membership Notes
World Communion of Reformed Churches Reformed 2010 General Secretary Chris Ferguson Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany Worldwide 100,000,000[5] Brings together Calvinists from all over the world, and is the largest of such organizations.
Anglican rose.svg Anglican Communion Anglican 1867
Lambeth Conference, London, England
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby London, United Kingdom Worldwide 85,000,000[6] Brings together Anglicans from all over the world, and is the largest of such organizations.
World Methodist Council Methodist 1881 General Secretary Bishop Ivan M. Abrahams Lake Junaluska, North Carolina, United States Worldwide 80,500,000[7] Brings together Methodists from all over the world, and is the largest of such organizations.
Lutheran World Federation Lutheran 1947 General Secretary Martin Junge Geneva, Canton of Geneva, Switzerland Worldwide 74,000,000[8] Brings together Lutherans from all over the world, and is the largest of such organizations.
World Assemblies of God Fellowship Pentecostal 1988 General Superintendent and Chairman Doug E. Clay Springfield, Missouri, United States Worldwide 68,000,000[9] Brings together a substantial Pentecostal population, although not the majority, as it is scattered in various independent Pentecostal denominations.
Baptist World Alliance Baptist 1905 General Secretary Neville Callam Falls Church, Virginia, United States Worldwide 48,000,000[10] Brings together a substantial Baptist population, although not the majority, as it is scattered in various independent Baptist denominations.

National bodies[edit]

Although there are "mostly national" denominations like the United Methodist Church (mainly concentrated in the United States), or denominations with dispersed membership like the Apostolic Church and the Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) (both with membership dispersed around the world) that have a far larger membership than required to be on this list, they operate worldwide and cannot be considered alongside other national bodies like, for example, the Church of Christ in Congo, which operates solely in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is not active beyond that country's borders.

The Church of England, the Church of Christ in Congo, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, the Assembleias de Deus and the Evangelical Church in Germany constitute the most numerous national bodies with more than 20 million members each.

Emblem Name Orientation Foundation Leadership Headquarters Region Membership Notes
Logo of the Church of England.svg Church of England Anglican 1534[note 3] Supreme Governor Queen Elizabeth II
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby
London, United Kingdom England 26,000,000[11] The original denomination in England which broke off from the Roman Catholic Church following the controversy araising around the planned marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon. It is the largest Protestant denomination in the world, and the largest Anglican denomination.
Church of Christ in Congo Methodists
Pentecostals
Baptists
Mennonites
Reformed
Evangelicals
United Protestants[12]
1970 Bishop Pierre Marini Bodho Kinshasa, Kinshasa Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo 25,500,000[13] Its creation was largely state-supported in order to organize all Protestants of the Democratic Republic of Congo in a single denomination. The second largest Protestant denomination in the world, and the largest United Protestant denomination.
Three-Self Patriotic Movement State-regulated theology
various Protestants
1951 Chairperson
Fu Xianwei
Secretary General
Xu Xiaohong
Shanghai, China China 23,000,000[14] It is the only Protestant denomination approved by the Chinese government. Its theology is regulated and controlled by the state.
Segunda Logo do Site.jpg Assembléias de Deus Pentecostal 1911 General Superintendent José Wellington Bezerra da Costa São Paulo, State of São Paulo, Brazil Brazil 22,500,000[15] Fragmented into smaller units which together gather the vast majority of Brazilian Pentecostals. The largest Pentecostal denomination in the world.
Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland Logo.svg Evangelical Church in Germany Prussian United
Lutheran
Reformed
1948 Praeses of the Synod Irmgard Schwätzer
Chairman of the Council of the EKD Heinrich Bedford-Strohm
Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany Germany 21,500,000[16] Postwar, renewed church confederation founded to bring all German Protestants under one umbrella. Earlier, the German Evangelical Church Confederation fulfilled that role during the Weimar Republic. If not considered a federation of churches, it is the fifth largest Protestant denomination in the world, the second largest in Europe, and the second largest United Protestant denomination.
Born Again Movement Evangelicals
Charismatics
Chinese house church
1968 Henan, China China 20,000,000[17] House church, not recognized by the Chinese government.
Church of Nigeria Anglican 1979 Primate of all Nigeria, Archbishop of Abuja Province Nicholas Okoh Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria Nigeria 18,000,000[18] Local province of the Anglican Communion.
Southern Baptist Convention Baptist 1845 President Steve Gaines Augusta, Georgia, United States United States 15,000,000[19] The world's largest Baptist denomination, and the largest Protestant denomination in the United States.
Church of Uganda Anglican 1897 Archbishop of Uganda and Bishop of Kampala Stanley Ntagali Namirembe Hill, Kampala District, Uganda Uganda 11,000,000[20] Local province of the Anglican Communion.
Fangcheng Fellowship Evangelicals
Charismatics
Chinese house church
1971 China 10,000,000[21] House church, not recognised by the Chinese government.
Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Lutheran 1959 Bishop Dr. Wakseyoum Idossa Addis Ababa, Chartered city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Ethiopia 8,310,129[22] The world's largest Lutheran denomination.
China Gospel Fellowship Evangelicals
Charismatics
Chinese house church
1980s China 8,000,000[23] House church, not recognized by the Chinese government.
National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. Baptist 1880 President Dr. Jerry Young Montgomery, Alabama, United States United States 7,500,000[24] The second largest Baptist denomination in the world. It is considered a black church with its membership being largely African American.
Nigerian Baptist Convention Baptist 1915 Rev. Dr. Samson Olasupo Adeniyi Ayokunle, President (and chief executive officer) Ibadan Nigeria 6,500,000[25] The world's third largest Baptist denomination.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania Lutheran 1963 Bishop Dr. Fredrick Onael Shoo Arusha, Arusha Region, Tanzania Tanzania 6,500,000[26] The world's second largest Lutheran denomination.
Church of Sweden Lutheran 1593 Archbishop of Uppsala Antje Jackelén Uppsala, Uppsala County, Sweden Sweden 6,000,000[27] The world's third largest Lutheran denomination, and the third largest Protestant one in Europe.
Anglican Church of Kenya Anglican 1970 Jackson Ole Sapit Nairobi, Nairobi County, Kenya Kenya 5,000,000[27] Local province of the Anglican Communion.

Non-national bodies[edit]

These denominations operate worldwide and cannot be considered alongside other national bodies.

Many sizeable non-national bodies happen to be Pentecostal. The list also includes the largest Adventist church (the Seventh-day Adventist Church), the largest Methodist church (the United Methodist Church) and the largest African initiated church (the Zion Christian Church) and the second largest Pentecostal denomination in the world, The Pentecostal Mission (TPM) or (New Testament Church/Universal Pentecostal Church/Ceylon Pentecostal Mission).

Emblem Name Orientation Foundation Leadership Headquarters Region Membership Notes
Assemblies of God
Pentecostal 1914/1988 George O. Wood Worldwide 67,000,000 The world's largest Pentecostal denomination.
Seventh-day Adventist Church
Adventist 1863 Silver Spring, Maryland, United States Worldwide 20,000,000 The world's largest Adventist denomination. Brings together the vast majority of the world's Adventists.
The Apostolic Church
Pentecostal 1916 Worldwide 15,000,000
Zion Christian Church
African initiated Southern Africa 15,000,000 The world's largest African initiated church with Anglican, Pentecostal and evangelical influences.
United Methodist Church
Methodist 1968 Worldwide 12,000,000 The world's largest Methodist denomination.
International Circle of Faith
Pentecostal Worldwide 11,000,000[citation needed]
International Church of the Foursquare Gospel
Pentecostal Worldwide 9,000,000
Church of God in Christ
Pentecostal Worldwide 6,500,000
Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee)
Pentecostal Worldwide 6,000,000
Jesus Is Lord Church Worldwide
Pentecostal 1978 Manila, Philippines Worldwide 5,000,000

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ In this comparison, the Pew Forum's figure of 800 million Protestants is used. Mentioned international bodies together accounted for some 420 million people in 2010.
  2. ^ In this comparison, the Pew Forum's figure of 800 million Protestants is used. Mentioned national bodies accounted for a little more than 200 million people in 2010.
  3. ^ The English church can be traced back to 597. It separated from the Roman Catholic Church in 1534.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Pewforum: Christianity (2010)" (PDF). Pewforum.org. Retrieved 2014-05-14.
  2. ^ http://www.worldea.org/whoweare/history
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-03-15. Retrieved 2015-03-15.
  4. ^ http://www.anglicancommunion.org/media/102178/porvoo_common_statement.pdf
  5. ^ "About The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC)". World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC). Retrieved 6 September 2017.
  6. ^ "- Anglican Communion". Anhglicancommunion.org. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Member Churches". Worldmethodistcouncil.org. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  8. ^ "About the LWF". Luthernworld.org. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  9. ^ "Statistics of the Assemblies of God (USA)" (PDF). Agchurches.org. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  10. ^ "Baptist World Alliance". Bwanet.org. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  11. ^ "Church of England statistics 2011" (PDF). Churchofengland.org. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  12. ^ Communautés membres de l'ECC Vous êtes ici: Accueil > Infos > Communautés membres Mar, le 13 Septembre 2016
  13. ^ "Eglise du Christ au Congo". Ecc.faithweb.com. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  14. ^ "Regional Distribution of Christians". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 19 December 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  15. ^ "Assembleia de Deus no Brasil é a maior do mundo". Fronteira Final. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  16. ^ "Zahlen und Fakten zum kirchlichen Leben 2018" (PDF). EKD. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  17. ^ "China's Dynamic Church". Christianity Today. Retrieved 2008-02-19.
  18. ^ "Nigerian Anglicans May Control the Future of the Church". Thinkafricapress.com. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  19. ^ "ACP: Worship attendance rises, baptisms decline". Baptist Press. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  20. ^ [1] Archived November 24, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ God Is Back: How the Global Revival of Faith Is Changing the World. Books.google.com. 2009-04-02. ISBN 9781101032411. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  22. ^ "New and Events". EEcmy.org. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  23. ^ "Authority of Scripture in China's Underground House Church". Biblereadingproject.com. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  24. ^ "About Us – The National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc". Nationalbaptist.com. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  25. ^ http://www.nigerianbaptist.org
  26. ^ "ELCT Press Release". Elct.org. Retrieved 26 October 2014.
  27. ^ a b Svenska kyrkan i siffror Svenska kyrkan