Bar-coded babies and tons of doughnuts--Evangelical Megachurches

Saturday, December 16, 2006 at 04:46 PM

As a sidebar to a story on the religious right, The Independent newspaper from the United Kingdom offers a brief review of some of the incredibly large Evangelical churches that are at the forefront of the movement:

Radiant Church Surprise, Arizona; members: 6,000
Radiant spends $16,000 annually on Krispy Kreme donuts. Pastor McFarland told the New York Times: ''We want the church to look like a mall, so you come in and say, 'Dude, where's the cinema?'

Brentwood Baptist Church Houston, Texas; members: 12,000

Has its own McDonald's, complete with golden arches and a drive-thru.

Saddleback Church Lake Forest, California; members: 22,000

Pastor Rick Warren wrote the best-selling non-fiction book in the US's history: The Purpose Driven Life. Bar codes are assigned to babies in the nursery to avoid losing them.

The Potter's House Dallas, Texas; members: 28,000

Led by the influential African-American pastor, TD Jakes, it has its own publishing house, daily talk show, a prison ministry that broadcasts to over 260 prisons, and a recording studio that has produced a Grammy-award-winning record.

Lakewood Church Houston, Texas; members: 30,000

The largest megachurch in the US. Joel Osteen's church meets in the former home of the Houston Rockets and has already outgrown the arena. Plans have been discussed to "franchise" the church in other cities.