Nigeria is a very large country populated mostly by religious people. Therefore, there is a high demand for churches, so that every believer can feel closer to God. Indeed, there are a lot of churches in Nigeria. However, some churches blow the others out of the water with their sheer size. In this article, you can find out about the largest church in Nigeria and how it compares to the largest church in the world.
Nigerians are very religious people. More than 90% of Nigerian population believe in God one way or another. It is still unclear which religion is dominant in the country, Christianity or Islam. What is obvious, though, is that there are many churches in Nigeria, and some of them are humongous.
Before we begin:
We need to establish what we mean by ‘the biggest church’. Is it the size of the actual church building or is it the size of the church’s congregation? In order to give you the full information, we decided to go with both for good measure. Therefore, below, you will find information on both the biggest church building and the biggest congregation.
The biggest church in Nigeria
As we have said before, almost half of Nigerian population is Christian. This amounts to the mighty 80 million people. Out of this number, 60 million are Protestants. In order to fit all these people, Protestant churches have to be ginormous. Which is why it is no wonder that the biggest church building in Nigeria is a Protestant church.
The church in question is the Faith Tabernacle. Its auditorium alone can seat 50,000 people, with additional 250,000 seats outside. The building resides on the 280,000 square metres of land within the 69-square-kilometre area that goes by the name of Canaanland. The church was built in 1998, but no one has beat it in size yet. You can visit it at the address KM 10, Idiroko Road, Ota, Ogun State.
This magnificent structure belongs to the Winners Chapel, otherwise known as Living Faith Church Worldwide. It was founded by David Oyedepo in 1983, and it currently has branches in 65 countries.
But there is a twist:
Does a large church-owned arena count? If yes, then Faith Tabernacle has nothing on the Congress Arena of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCD). Spanning over three square kilometres, this huge space can fit up to 6 million people. Six million! Can you imagine that many people in one place at the same time? It is like the entire population of Congo and then some.
The Arena itself is a part of a larger structure called Redemption Camp. The Camp is like a small city within a city. It has its own power structure, educational institutions, houses, clinics and even banks and supermarkets! One might even consider it the Nigerian Vatican of sorts, only bigger and less Catholic. You can find this megastructure at KM 46, Lagos-Ibadan Express Way.
RCCG was founded in 1952 in Lagos by Josiah Akindayomi. It went from being a small local church to one of the biggest churches in Nigeria. Redemption Camp was built between the years 1983-1985. RCCG has branches in 196 countries, and it does not plan to stop there.
Most populated church in Nigeria
While it is obvious that the most populated Nigerian church in general is the Protestant Church, it is not exactly clear which particular church has the largest congregation. Once again, the first place is up for debate.
Most churches have no way of knowing exactly how many people are their members. Therefore, RCCG’s claim that it has 2 million members is not supported by any evidence (although it is not entirely unrealistic). The same goes for the (Anglican) Church of Nigeria, which claims to have 18 million members. However, there is another way to determine the size of the congregation and it is by considering the weekly attendance.
And guess what:
RCCG is actually not the biggest Nigerian church by attendance. While it does have the impressive 50,000 attendees weekly, it is only in second place, along with the Winners Chapel. The first place by attendance belongs to the Deeper Christian Life Ministry.
It was founded in 1973 in Lagos by William Kumuyi, and it quickly gained popularity among believers. Today, this charismatic church receives around 65,000 visitors every week. It also has several branches across the world, including The United States, India, Russia and many others.
The biggest church in the world
According to the website adherents.com, one of the largest online databases of information on religion, the biggest religion in the world is Christianity. More than 2 billion people consider themselves Christians. The biggest church in Christianity is the Catholic Church (1.3 billion). Therefore, it is no wonder that the biggest church building in the world belongs to this branch of Christianity.
We are talking about the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. Its interior area of 15,160 square metres has guaranteed this church the first spot. However, if we are talking about exterior area, the 21,095 square metres of the St. Peters Basilica are beat by the impressive 30 thousand square metres of the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace from Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire. Regardless, they both seem a bit small compared to the Faith Tabernacle.
We could also argue about what church is the biggest by attendance, but not all churches keep track of their attendees. Nevertheless, if you really want to know, then the biggest church in the world by weekly attendance is the Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea. It receives around 480,000 visitors weekly. No Nigerian church has yet been able to beat this number.
Now you know more about the biggest church in Nigeria and how it compares to the biggest church in the world. It seems a bit complicated, but so does religion. Do you go to church? What religion are you a part of? Did you know all of this already? We hope that you were still able to find out something new. God bless you and have a good day!
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