Faith and Worship in Dallas Fort Worth Texas
The Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is a unique area when it comes to religion. According to Sperling's Best Places, it's one of the most religiously active areas in the nation; they estimate that more than 55% of the population considers itself religious, compared to under 49% nationwide. Like most states, the majority of religious Texans have some form or Christian faith, although denominational breakdown is different. In the nation, about 19% of people are Catholic. Although one might expect this number to be higher in a state bordering predominantly Catholic Mexico, DFW has considerably fewer Catholics, at only 13%.
Instead, DFW has more than twice the national average of Baptists. The Metroplex is also home to considerably more Methodists and nondenominational Christians. What does that mean for the landscape of worship? It all adds up to rich fodder for mega church culture. Northern Texas is known as the "Buckle of the Bible Belt," meaning that not only is it home to many Christians, but that worshipers in the area also have a very "Texan" way of being Christian. At one time or another, Dallas has been home to the nation's largest Episcopal, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, and Southern Baptist congregations. Religion, like almost everything else in Texas, is bigger and glitzier than in just about any other part of the country.
Dallas is home to what many consider to be the first modern mega church, The First Baptist Church of Dallas. While certainly not the largest church in Dallas today, First Baptist was the model for all mega churches that followed, particularly other Baptist mega churches. A mega church has anywhere from several thousands of members to 10-, 20-, or upwards of 30,000 members and one or many monolith-sized facilities, on campuses that can seem like cities of their own. The largest churches often feature stadium seating, concert-quality sound and lighting, and televise their worship for those who cannot attend or simply don't fit in the same room. Dallas has an unusually large number of mega churches.
It's against this backdrop of mega church culture in Dallas, that the annual Mega Fest is set. Mega Fest is a revival led by celebrity evangelist Bishop T. D. Jakes. Not surprisingly, Bishop Jakes is also the founder of one of the largest mega churches in the nation -- and the largest in DFW -- The Potter's House. Christians from every denomination and from all over the country flock to Dallas every year to take part in the largest revival in the nation.
While the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex is known for its leadership in the mega church phenomenon, there are other religions that also make true the saying "everything's bigger in Texas." Eastern populations have been booming in Texas, and with them come eastern religions, such as Buddhism and Hinduism. DFW is also home to more than three times the national average of Muslims and the largest Jewish Synagogue in the South/Southwestern United States. There are also some fantastic and influential churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques with fewer than one thousand members.
While the landscape of worship in DFW offers a plethora of ways to develop one's spirituality, it can be a difficult landscape to navigate -- especially for those who are new to the area. The following is a list of the Top 25 Houses of Worship in the DFW area. While they are ranked by congregation size, church planting, impact on the community, innovation, and history, were also considered when choosing them for the list.
1. The Potter's HouseNondenominational Christian Congregation: 30,000 6777 W Kiest Blvd Dallas, TX 75236 214-331-0954 www.thepottershouse.org The Potter's House was founded in 1996 by Bishop T. D. Jakes with just 50 families in its congregation. It has since grown into one of the nation's largest mega churches, featuring more than 59 ministries, including GED/literacy programs, homeless outreach, AIDS outreach, and a fast-growing prison ministry.
2. Our Lady of Guadalupe CathedralCatholic Congregation: 25,000 2215 Ross Ave. Dallas, TX 75201 www.cathedralguadalupe.org Our Lady's Cathedral is home to the oldest Catholic parish in Dallas, which began as the Sacred Heart Church in 1869. It was also home to the first Dallas diocesan cathedral, which was renamed Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1914 to include a neighboring parish serving Mexican immigrants. The Cathedral is located at the center of the Dallas Arts District.
3. Fellowship ChurchBaptist Congregation: 24,000 2450 N Hwy 121 Grapevine, TX 76051 972-471-5700 www.fellowshipchurch.com Fellowship Church is by far the largest Baptist church in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and one of the largest mega churches in the nation. The church features contemporary worship that appeals to vast audiences, such as the "Walking Dead -- Life Is Too Good Not To Live" sermon series.
4. Highland Park United Methodist ChurchMethodist Congregation: 15,000+ 3300 Mockingbird Lane Dallas, TX 75205 214-521-3111 www.hpumc.org Highland Park United Methodist actually began on the SMU campus in 1916, and moved to their own church in 1927. Highland Park has ministries for all ages, and members can worship at the Sanctuary (traditional), Cornerstone (contemporary), Cox Chapel, Kerygma, Munger Place, or online.
5. Prestonwood Baptist ChurchBaptist Congregation: 15,000 6801 W. Park Blvd. Plano, Texas 75093 972-820-5000 www.prestonwood.org Prestonwood has three locations in the DFW Metroplex, and began with the North Dallas location in 1977. The Plano campus is the largest, at 140 acres. The Church focuses on excellence, evangelism, engagement, expansion, encouragement, and equipping people to live a Christian life.
6. Gateway ChurchNondenominational Christian Congregation: 11,300 700 Blessed Way Southlake, Texas 76092 817.328.1000 www.gatewaypeople.com With the help of pastors at Trinity Fellowship Church in Amarillo Texas, Pastor Robert Morris started this Bible-based, evangelistic church in 2000. In just 13 years, the church gained a total of 24,000 members at 5 campuses across the Southwestern United States. Nearly half of those members call the DFW area home.
7. First Baptist Church of DallasBaptist Congregation: 11,000 1707 San Jacinto St Dallas, TX 75201 214-969-0111 www.firstdallas.org First Baptist is one of the largest Baptist churches in the Dallas with a congregation of 11,000. They are considered the nation's first modern mega church. Their ministries focus on four strategies: worship, equip, serve, and influence, and include Discipleship University, missions, celebration and contemporary worship, a care ministry, and GriefShare, just to name a few.
8. Lake Pointe BaptistBaptist Congregation: 10,500 701 Interstate 30 Rockwall, Texas 75087 469-698-2200 www.lakepointe.org The Lake Point Baptist church believes that salvation is for those who trust in Jesus and their Lord and Savior. Members are encouraged to work together to share Christ with others and support each other on their individual spiritual journeys.
9. Covenant ChurchNondenominational Christian Congregation: 9,765 2660 E. Trinity Mills Rd. Carrollton, TX 75006 972-416-5466 www.covenantchurch.org Senior Pastors Mike and Kathy Hayes started Covenant Church in 1976 and now have nearly 10,000 members and several campuses throughout North Texas. Covenant celebrates nearly 40 years of strengthening families and communities while encouraging passionate worship of Jesus Christ.
10. Abundant Living Faith CenterNondenominational Christian Congregation: 9,700 1000 Valley Crest El Paso, TX 79907 915-532-8543 www.alfc.com From a community that held its first Sunday service in a railroad union hall in 1977, the ALFC has come a long way in building its membership to almost 10,000. With over 20 ministries for members for all ages and denominations, the Abundant Living Faith Center has something for everyone.
11. Oak Cliff Bible FellowshipNondenominational Christian Congregation: 9,700 1808 W. Camp Wisdom Rd. Dallas, TX 75232 214-672-9100 www.ocbfchurch.org Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship was established in 1976 by Dr. Tony Evans, one of the most respected evangelical leaders in the country. Oak Cliff strives to create a culture consistent with God's Kingdom by building "skill of hand and integrity of heart," ministry excellence, and loving relationships.
12. Inspiring Body of Christ ChurchNondenominational Christian Congregation: 7,500 7701 S. Westmoreland Ave. Dallas, TX 75237 972-572-4262 www.ibocchurch.org Inspirational Body of Christ was founded in 1980 with just 150 members. The church's motto is "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men," and Pastor Rickie. G Rush uses this as a metaphor for creating a world of united Christians from diverse backgrounds.
13. Islamic Association of Collin CountyMuslim Congregation: 7,500 6401 Independence Parkway Plano, TX 75023 972-491-5800 www.planomasjid.org The IACC offers both a place for Muslims to pray but also a number of community services like Halaqa, Sunday School, Summer School, and Quaranic and Arabic teachings. In addition, their unique services include a free medical clinic, law clinic, and library.
14. St. Michaels and All Angels EpiscopalEpiscopalian Congregation: 7,000 8011 Douglas Dallas, TX 75225 214-363-5471 www.saintmichael.org St. Michael's is definitely not the largest church on our list, but with over 40 ministries the church has a lot of influence in the DFW community. And, with 7,000 members, the church lives up to its mission of being an "embracing and engaging community of faith living our Baptismal Covenant."
15. Crossroads Christian ChurchNondenominational Christian Congregation: 5,500 6450 S. State Highway 360 Grand Prairie, TX 75052 817-557-2277 www.crossroadschristian.org Originally called the Arlington Christian Church, Crossroads began serving the community in 1970. Today, the Crossroads 146-acre campus features a 2-story, 150,000 square-foot facility that houses ministries for men, women, and children of all ages, including Crossroads Sports teams and events for Christian singles.
16. Park Cities Baptist ChurchBaptist Congregation: 5,000 3933 Northwest Parkway Dallas, TX 75225 214-860-1500 www.pcbc.org Park Cities Baptist Church was started in 1939 by members who had previously attended the First Baptist Church of Dallas across town. The Church offers many ways to worship, and hosts contemporary, traditional, blended, and Spanish bilingual services every Sunday, as well as various other prayer meetings and ministries.
17. Cathedral of HopeCatholic Congregation: 4,000+ 5910 Cedar Springs Rd. Dallas, TX 75235 214-351-1901 www2.cathedralofhope.com Cathedral of Hope is an inclusive community that welcomes worshippers from any faith background. The church has been particularly influential in the homosexual community for its "Coming Out" resources and social justice activities. "Radical inclusion and relentless compassion" are all part of the cathedral's mission statement.
18. First United Methodist ChurchMethodist Congregation: 3,000+ 1928 Ross Avenue Dallas, TX 75201 214-220-2727 www.fumcdal.org First United Methodist features powerful, energetic traditional worship, and emphasizes caring for your neighbors, finding your spiritual home, becoming disciples of Christ, and serving others. If you would like to become a member of First United and are transferring from another denomination, you do not need to be rebaptized.
19. Temple Emanu-ElJewish Congregation: 2,500 families 8500 Hillcrest Ave Dallas, TX 75225 214-706-0000 www.tedallas.org Founded in 1875, Temple Emanu-El was the first Jewish congregation in North Texas. With 2,500 families, the Temple Emanu-El is also the largest synagogue in the DFW area. The Reform Jewish community emphasizes life-long learning, meaningful relationships, great respect for diversity, and bringing Jewish values into their daily lives.
20. St. Patrick CathedralCatholic Congregation: 2,000 1206 Throckmorton St. Fort Worth, TX 76102 817-332-4915 www.stpatrickcathedral.org St. Patrick's was established in 1890 and then became the Diocese Cathedral of Fort Worth in 1969. The cathedral celebrates a diverse but united community, and its ministries include a youth ministry, Altar Society, and Knights of Columbus.
21. Islamic Association of CarrolltonMuslim Congregation: 700 1901 Kelly Blvd Carrollton, TX 75007 214-390-1120 www.carrolltonmasjid.org The Islamic Association of Carrollton was established in 1991 in a very small Mussalla with just one room; it now has over 700 members. The center features a youth group, Islamic library, Dawah services, Nikah, and weekly Halqas.
22. Flower Mound Hindu TempleHindu Membership: 500 families 3325 Long Prairie Road Flower Mound, TX 75022 214-513-2562 www.fmhtcc.org The Temple began construction in 2009 after families in the Flower Mound community decided to create their own Hindu community closer to home. Today, they offer daily and weekly pooja services, Maha Prasaad every Sunday, language classes, and Gurukulam classes.
23. Dhamma Siri Meditation CenterBuddhist Students: 200 10850 County Road 155A Kaufman, TX 75142 www.siri.dhamma.org Dhamma Siri teaches the disciplines of Vipassana, an Indian tradition meaning "to see things as they really are." The center facilities were completed in 2006 and feature a meditation hall and facilities for 10-day residential courses in Vipassana.
24. Interfaith Peace ChapelCongregation: 175 5910 Cedar Springs Road Dallas, TX 75235 214-351-1044 www.interfaithpeacechapel.org The Interfaith Peace Chapel aims to unite peoples of all faiths, or no faith, in the goal of removing war from our culture and replacing it with peace. The chapel encourages open dialogue, meditation, and prayer in order to learn about and celebrate religious diversity.
25. Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)Nondenominational Congregation: 150 4711 Westside Dr. Dallas, TX, 75209 214-526-7291 www.cccdt.org Central Christian Church is one of the oldest in Dallas; they celebrated their 150th anniversary in 2013. The church serves the community in many ways, such as converting part of their lot into a community dog park and another part into an organic community garden. Thanks to this garden, they are the largest donors of produce to Dallas North Shared Ministries.
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