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Megachurches on the Rise in San Diego


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The number of evangelical churches in the United States is growing, according to religious scholars. The definition of an evangelical church is subject to debate, but most agree that evangelicals take the Bible seriously - and literally - and see a need to spread the word to others. The rise of evangelism may have triggered another religious trend: the megachurch. Protestant churches in the United States are getting bigger and bigger. 

 The granddaddy of them all in southern California is Rick Warren’s Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest in Orange County, with 22,000 members. In 2006, the Hartford Institute for Religious Research classified 11 churches in San Diego as megachurches - attended by at least 2,000 people during a week, with five others just under that number. 

Among the largest are Horizon Christian Fellowship in Clairemont with 5,000 parishioners, and Emmanuel Faith Community Church in Escondido, which serves 6,500 people each week. Miles McPherson is the founder and pastor of the Rock Church in San Diego, which is evangelical, non-denominational and fast-growing. The Rock will soon move from temporary quarters into a brand-new facility on the naval training center site in Point Loma.

The Rock was a megachurch from its very first Sunday in the year 2000, when 3,000 people showed up at SDSU’s Montezuma Hall to hear Miles McPherson speak. Today, about 6,500 San Diegans are now involved in some aspect of the Rock Church each week.


  • Miles McPherson, founder and pastor of the Rock Church.

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