Stay inspired by these churches who share content on their YouTube channels.
With so many people using YouTube every day, that’s where churches have the greatest opportunities to have a presence, to be salt and light in the world, and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ! At the time of this post, YouTube has over 2 billion monthly logged-in users; and every day, people watch over a billion hours of video and generate billions of views.
While there isn’t yet a Church of YouTube, per se, many Christians and churches are uploading all kinds of videos about Christianity, worship services, Bible teaching, apologetics, livestream events, stories, and more.
But how do we get a sense of what’s happening with our churches’ collective presence on YouTube? There currently isn’t a one-click YouTube category to find religion & spirituality content like over on Apple Podcasts, although there’s a YouTube hashtag #church with 46K channels.
Well, with some sweat equity and savvy creative searching, I’ve found the 23 most popular YouTube channels for churches, both in the United States and other countries too, sorted by the number of subscribers.
Most Popular U.S. Churches on YouTube
1. Joel Osteen (Lakewood Church) with 2.53M subscribers
2. Elevation Church (Steven Furtick) with 2.37M subscribers
3. T.D. Jakes (The Potter’s House) with 1.79M subscribers
4. Transformation Church (Michael Todd) with 1.7M subscribers
5. In Touch Ministries (Charles Stanley) with 838K subscribers
6. Joyce Meyer Ministries with 796K subscribers
7. First Baptist Church of Glenarden (John K. Jenkins Sr.) with 708K subscribers
8. Touré Roberts (ONE – A Potter’s House Church) with 703K subscribers
9. Tony Evans (Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship) with 596K subscribers
10. Grace to You (John MacArthur) with 609K subscribers
11. Hillsong Church (Australia and more) with 522K subscribers
12. Life.Church (Craig Groeschel) with 505K subscribers
13. Saddleback Church (Rick Warren) with 485K subscribers
Most Popular Churches on YouTube Outside of the U.S.A.
And, outside of the United States, there are YouTube channels of churches and pastors with many many subscribers too—
- El Lugar de Su Presencia (Colombia) with 2.22M subscribers
- Dr. P. Satish Kumar (Calvary Temple, India) with 1.03M subscribers
- Christ’s Commission Fellowship (Philippines) with 1.02M subscribers
- Joseph Prince (New Creation Church, Singapore) with 985K subscribers
- Philip Mantofa (Mawar Sharon Church, Indonesia) with 932K subscribers
- Anker Narula Ministries (The Church of Signs and Wonders) with 808K subscribers
- Shepherd Bushiri (Enlightened Christian Gathering International Church, Malawi) with 606K subscribers
- Igreja Batista da Lagoinha (Brazil) with 575K subscribers
- Living Faith Church Worldwide (David Oyedepo, Nigeria) with 478K subscribers
- Iglesia Rey de Reyes (Mexico) with 415K subscribers
How Churches Can Be More Effective on YouTube
It’s encouraging to see churches like these reaching millions and hundreds of thousands on YouTube. Yet, we have to remind ourselves that these numbers are not about competition or ranking, as it may often be our human tendency. Each of our local churches has a distinct role and unique place in the world. I sincerely hope this list isn’t perceived as a leaderboard, but that it inspires you and provides insights into what your church can do too.
What can we learn from these churches on YouTube as we look to them as real-life examples? Here are 3 lessons:
1. Invite Viewers to Become Subscribers
These numbers do indicate that something about the content of these videos are connecting with many of its viewers that prompts them to click on the SUBSCRIBE button. Take a look at some of these channels and notice what they’re doing to turn viewers into subscribers.
- Can you guess how many have a welcome video on their YouTube channel’s homepage?
- Take notes on how these churches add an End Screen to make it easy to subscribe.
Study their channel and decide what methods you can adopt for your own.
Get strategic: 3 Digital Ministry Stats To Direct Your Strategy
2. Budget for Advertising and Marketing
Unless churches disclose their budgets in the open, we’re not going to know how much money is being spent to increase views and subscribers.
Most, if not all, of these churches have a large attendance through their on-site worship services. That in-person engagement fuels the funding for the staff and budget. Money is probably being spent on staff to produce these high-quality videos and advertising to increase distribution, views, and subscribers.
This knowledge can lead you to lobby for a production budget or — at the very least — open your eyes to what’s possible (or not) for your parameters.Considering publishing your church’s content on YouTube? As you strategize (and before you start comparing), realize that a lot of the churches you’re watching have a large production budget. Click To Tweet
3. Hybrid Church in a Post-Pandemic World
We’ve lived through an unprecedented time in human history with the global COVID pandemic. Church cannot be the same as we knew it. The aha moment came for pastors and churches when we realized that a worship service and a sermon can serve more people outside the building than inside the building! Yes, a video message can minister to people over the internet reasonably effectively, even though it’s not the same as how a worship service impacts people on-site and in-person. Don’t put the light under a bushel. Make the most of every opportunity!
What Do You Think About YouTube?
I know you’re very smart for being a reader of this blog, so let me ask you a question. What else do you observe when browsing these most popular churches on YouTube? And, what other popular churches on YouTube should be listed?