The gospel has had exponential growth in recent years, as it has been expanding to many regions, thus gaining a large number of followers. In this article we will review which is the largest evangelical Church in the world, we will point out its characteristics and some aspects of interest for the reader about this Christian current.
What is the largest evangelical church in the world?
As we know, the evangelical movement includes several Protestant Christian currents that have spread throughout the world and that have increased, by virtue of this, their number of parishioners. Let’s see what are the main evangelical movements:
- Baptist churches. Movement founded by English pastors in Holland in 1609 and in England in 1612. It has more than 100 million believers.
- Pentecostals . Evangelical movement of Christian churches and organizations, whose doctrine is based on the doctrine of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
- It was fueled in recent times by a series of meetings called the Azusa Street Revival, led by African-American pastor William J. Seymour, held in Los Angeles, California in April 1906 at an African Methodist Episcopal Church.
- In the meetings experiences of spiritual ecstasy were lived, coupled with the practice of the gift of tongues of some participants. Dramatic worship services and racial mixing were also offered.
- The terms “Pentecostalism” and “Pentecostal” come from the word Pentecost, which is the Jewish celebration, in which the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples of Jesus Christ is commemorated.
- charismatic movement . Religious movement emerged at the end of the 1950s, coming from various Christian currents; namely: Evangelical, Methodist, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Catholic, Presbyterian.
- It introduces elements such as the doctrine of baptism in the Holy Spirit and some liturgical aspects of each church.
- It is considered the newest branch of Pentecostalism.
- The term “charismatic movement” was introduced in 1962.
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A regular temple attendance rate of 2,000 people a week was established, which was considered to be a “mega church.”
However, in view of the great boom achieved by these evangelical denominations, it has been decided to use the term to refer to those churches whose normal attendance exceeds 30,000 people.
In this sense, several studies were carried out in order to estimate which of the evangelical churches that currently exist was the largest in the world, based on the indicator of the number of weekly attendees at religious services.
From these studies it turned out that the Yoido Full Gospel Church is the one that registers the largest number of followers who attend its temples and that it has held this position for many years.
Yoido Full Gospel Church
The Yoido Full Gospel Church or Iglesia del Evangelio Pleno Yoido, in Spanish, has turned out to be the largest evangelical church in the world by the number of faithful who attend its weekly services, which are counted at more than 800,000 people.
It is a Pentecostal church that belongs to the so-called Assemblies of God and is located in the city of Seoul, capital of South Korea.
This church has a main building at its headquarters that has a capacity for 12,000 seats, but includes external spaces near the church for people who cannot access the temple, where they observe the religious service through screens.
The church was founded in 1968 by evangelical pastor David Yonggi Cho and his mother-in-law, Choi Ja-Shil. The first religious services were held at David Yonggi’s house. At that time the church had 8,000 affiliated members.
A house-to-house campaign was also carried out, in which humanitarian and spiritual assistance was offered to the most needy, praying for the sick, with which they managed to win even more followers for their doctrine.
In 1973 the current church building with 12,000 seats was built.
The Yoido Church fully complies with the divine precepts of spreading the doctrine, as Jesus Christ asked and as it pleases the Lord, and thus has been spreading its teachings to an increasingly diverse membership.
Among its objectives, the church seeks to ensure that its believers adopt its religious philosophy and are totally faithful to the Lord. His evangelical Pentecostal doctrine states that:
- Everyone has God’s knowledge of what He wants for their lives
- All are faithfully delivered to his love
- Everyone put his teachings into practice.
Like all evangelical Christian movements, the Yoido church is based on the three basic beliefs of the evangelical doctrine, which are:
- the Trinity
- Salvation only by faith in Christ
- Biblical inerrancy.
It is important to remember at all times that the plans that God has for his devotees are much better than you think, in reality.
Why did you earn that position?
It is important to highlight that this church is recognized as the largest and has earned that seat, not only because of the enormous number of devotees who come to its temple to pray and worship God, but also because it remains faithful to its divine precepts, attached to their Christian faith. As characteristic aspects that distinguish the Yoido Church are:
- Constant exhortation to his faithful devotees not to worry if something does not go well, because that may be because God wants something totally better for their lives, in which that communion with God is strengthened.
- He is an active member of the Assemblies of God
- Frequent prayer preaching
- Meetings and congregation of his devotees in the temple to share the Word and the spiritual experiences of each one.
- Evangelization at all times, of the Word to show, to those who still do not fully believe in God, the goodness, joys and blessings that are received from the Almighty when recognizing him as their only Lord and savior.
In its evangelization practices, the Yoido church constantly strives to sensitize the hearts of those who still do not have full belief about the Lord, through biblical studies and testimonials.
This has meant that when least expected, and sometimes with the least expected people, they appear before the church to seek and inquire about how this church works and about the Word of God, requesting to be participants in its doctrine and in the church. .
They declare that they want to become instruments of God and belong to one of his congregations. (Learn about praying to bless money )
Assemblies of God
As previously noted, the largest evangelical church in the world; that is, the Yoido Church belongs to the so-called Assemblies of God.
Now, what are these assemblies? Well, they are groups that have been formed from the different councils and conventions, which make up the Pentecostal organization called the World Assemblies of God Fraternity. These councils are prepared and carried out by the Protestant churches of various countries.
These assemblies are contemplated within the so-called classical Pentecostalism, which, as we know, is one of the branches of modern Pentecostalism (historical Pentecostalism, classical Pentecostalism, Oneness Pentecostalism, charismatic movement or neo-Pentecostalism).
Classical Pentecostalism differ in their doctrines according to the organization, but they do share the general beliefs. Particularly, in this current of Pentecostalism:
- Believe in the Holy Trinity
- It is a fundamentalist movement
- Biblical liberalism is practiced
- It is believed in hell and eternal life in heaven and eternal death
- You are against the death penalty
- Homosexuality and divorce are disapproved
- Abstains from alcohol, tobacco and other stronger drugs
Members of these Assemblies of God define themselves as Christians, Protestants, Evangelicals, and Pentecostals.
According to recent statistical data, it has been found that these assemblies are one of the largest Pentecostal organizations in the world, since it has 67,992,330 members, according to data from 2015. In addition, it brings together 365,157 churches, 388,472 ministers and 2,474 Bible institutes in which 158,322 students studied.
On the other hand, these organizations belong to the national association of evangelical churches of each country or region where the assembly is operating. They also participate in the World Pentecostal Fraternity ( Pentecostal World Fellowship in English ).
However, they do not agree with the so-called ecumenism or movement that promotes unity among all Christian churches, since they consider them religious organizations contrary to their declaration of faith. They are also not members of the World Council of Churches, which is the first organization promoting Christian ecumenism internationally.
The Bible of the evangelical church
The Bible is the manual of life that all believers of the different Christian currents consult.
However, it is well known that there are variations of it by virtue of the divergent conceptions that arose within the faith, which gave rise to the divisions that have occurred throughout the centuries within Christianity.
We see, then, that the Bible consulted in the largest evangelical church in the world is the one used by all Protestants in their ceremonies and as part of their biblical readings.
This Bible is made up of the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New Testament, for a total of 66 books that make up the Bible of all evangelical Christians.
On the other hand, it should be noted that the evangelical Bible has among its qualities the encouragement of the reader to let himself be inspired by the Holy Spirit in order to reach the message that the Bible wants to convey and interpret it according to the circumstances he is going through.
That is why in this biblical text there are not many content indexes with explanatory notes, which leads to encourage freedom of interpretation. (See the article the power of prayer)
Special mention should be made of the LDS Edition that is prepared by the Church of Jesus Christ of the Saints of the Last Days, which presents the reader with some explanations, guides and summary of each of the chapters, attached to the criteria of the Mormon slopes, but they are useful for your understanding.
Likewise, we can point out the Scofield Reference Bible, which also offers explanatory annotations, in order to facilitate its understanding and interpretation.
Let us remember that this was prepared by the theologian and Bible student Cyrus Ingerson Scofield, who first published it in 1909, generated following the King James Bible.
These biblical texts constitute the material with which devotees of the Christian faith count, to consult and thus achieve their spiritual growth.
Other large evangelical churches
There are other evangelical churches that also report a large number of parishioners who regularly attend their temples and churches. Let’s see what they are:
- Grace and Truth, Kyangi Do, South Korea with 253,000 followers. Pastor: Yong Mok Cho
- International Charismatic Mission. It is located in Bogotá, Colombia with a total of 150,000 faithful. Pastors: Cesar and Claudia Castellanos
- Elim Church, San Salvador, El Salvador, reports 150,000 religious. Pastor: Mario Vega
- Sunrak Baptist Church, Seoul, South Korea, with 130,000 believers
- Pentecostal Methodist Church, Jotabeche. Located in Santiago, Chile with approximately 130,000 people
- Deeper Life Bible Church. It is located in Lagos, Nigeria and has 120,000 members. Pastor: William Kumuyi
- Redeemed Christian Church. Located in Lagos, Nigeria with 110,000 worshipers
- Nambu Full Gospel, Seoul, South Korea and has 110,000 believers
- Kumnan Methodist Church. Located in Seoul, South Korea, with 100,000 followers. Pastor: Hong Do Kim
- Kum Ran Methodist. Located in Seoul, South Korea with 80,000 devotees
- Future vision. Located in Santa Fe, Argentina with a total of 70,000 believers. Pastor: Omar Cabrera Jr.
- Mana Church. It is located in Lisbon, Portugal with 60,000 members
- Young Nak Presbyterian Church. It is located in Seoul, South Korea. Report 60,000 followers. Shepherd: Oh
- Yesu Darbar. Located in Allahabad, India with 60,000 people. Pastor: R. B. Lal
- New Life Fellowship. It is located in Bombay, India and has 50,000 faithful
- Waves of Light and Love. Located in Buenos Aires, Argentina with 50,000 members. Pastor: Hector Gimenez
- Lakewood Church. It is located in Houston, Texas with 50,000 people. Pastors: Joel and Victoria Osteen
- Winners Chapel. It is located in Ota, Nigeria and has 50,000 followers. Pastor: David Oyedepa
- Soong Eui, Incheon Methodist. It is located in South Korea and has 50,000. Pastor: Yi Hoon Moon
- Harvest Ministry. It is located in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Reports 36,000 faithful. Pastor: Misael Argenal
There is a proliferation of devout evangelical faithful who are scattered throughout various regions of the world, who are dedicated to honoring God, and in whose churches his Word is preached.
This is an indication of the result of the evangelization practices that the different evangelical churches have been adopting for the communities with their messages and divine teachings.
It is appropriate here to mention the cult that is followed within evangelical Christianity to worship the Lord in their religious services.
We know that this Christian-Evangelical current is based, in essence, on the Gospel, which is nothing more than the narration of the life, miracles, passion, death of Jesus, as well as the words and teachings that he will leave us through the apostles.
His doctrine is based on salvation through the atonement of Jesus of Nazareth.
We have, then, that the cult or service is the moment in which the devout faithful congregate to carry out the praises, the adoration and the prayer with God.
It contains two main parts; namely:
- Praise, which consists of making positive statements about the Lord or some personality or biblical passage. Often, it is enlivened with Christian music composed and performed as a form of expression of Christianity.
- This music can be of various musical styles, with lyrics that contain biblical messages or that refer to different types of prayer, be it worship, petition or thanksgiving.
- Usually, the main motivation is to value and exalt the Christian faith.
- The sermon or homily, which is a type of oratory based on a discourse on a religious topic, usually delivered by the ordained minister on duty.
- This sermon used to be delivered in Latin. Then, with the passing of time and because the people no longer understood cultured Latin, it began to be pronounced in the language of each region, but the rest of the liturgy continued to be done in Latin.
- It is based on the Bible.
- Communion or Eucharist takes place periodically, which comes from the Greek word εὐχαριστία which translates as ‘thanksgiving’. On many occasions it is also called the Lord’s Supper, Holy Supper, Blessed Sacrament or Holy Sacrifice.
- For the Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican and some Lutheran churches, it is considered that in this sacrament the body and blood of Jesus Christ are found in the form of bread and wine, which are converted through consecration.
This cult can take place with the Church and all its faithful devotees or with the family.
These meetings for worship can be held on weekdays, but celebrating it on Sundays has acquired a special significance, which is why it is considered the auspicious day for the worship of the Lord.
We must point out that for evangelical churches, worship is seen as the central act of worshiping God. Liturgy is not contemplated, since the notion of worship is considered more informal.
It is usually officiated by a Christian pastor, who has been given the proper power within the church to effect, lead, and care for a congregation of devout believers.
Places called “church buildings” or “temples” are often used for worship. They may also be referred to as campuses.
It is said that for evangelicals, the building is not sacred, since it is possible to celebrate it in chat rooms, auditoriums or multipurpose rooms in which it is not necessary to have many religious symbols.
For them, the Latin cross is one of the few symbols that can be found in a building or hall of an evangelical church, since they do not have major religious representations such as icons, objects, paintings or images in their places of worship.
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In the session of the worship part of the worship it has been modified in terms of the musical aspect, since since the 1990s other musical genres have been introduced in contemporary Christian music, such as Christian rock and Christian hip hop .
Then, later, from the year 2000, digital technologies began to be integrated into the cults, which facilitated many of the cult sessions. That is why now they can be seen in the ceremonies, the use of video projectors that allow the audience to present the lyrics of the praises on large screens.
Likewise, with the appearance of social networks, such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc., it has allowed pastors and other members of the church to broadcast live or rescheduled worship services through the internet.
Similarly, online donations have become a common practice in many churches.
On the other hand, changes have also been introduced within the charismatic movement since the 1960s, by allowing applause and raising the arms in a sign of adoration to the Lord, which is already part of the new concept of praise as an integral part of worship in many evangelical denominations.