Blog RSS Feed

Archive for June, 2010

Church Names in the U.S.

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

If you were to name a church, how would you go about it? Let’s see how people have named churches in the U.S. by looking at a random sample of 300,000 church names gathered using the Yahoo! Local Search API.

The Word “Church”

You might start with the word “church” in your name. About 2/3 of churches in the dataset have the word “church.” (The number of churches with the word “church” in reality is higher, as the dataset often truncates names.) Other popular nouns: center, fellowship, chapel, assembly, ministries (or ministry), temple, tabernacle, and iglesia.

Most Common Words in Church Names

Here’s a wordle of the most common words that appear in church names (excluding the word “church”):

Wordle of the most-common words in church names.

Most Common Words in Church Names, Excluding Denominations

Denominations overpower the raw list. Here’s a wordle of the same data without denomination names:

Wordle of the most-common words in church names, excluding denominations.

Full Church Names

Here are the most common church names in the U.S. Also download the top 1,000 church names in the U.S. (29 KB Excel document), covering 95,000 churches, if you want more information.

Church Name Churches
first baptist church 5,115
church of christ 2,854
first united methodist church 2,149
first presbyterian church 1,960
united methodist church 1,488
seventh-day adventist church 1,478
first christian church 1,309
calvary baptist church 1,197
church of the nazarene 915
trinity lutheran church 892
salvation army 867
first assembly of god 744
church of god 677
faith baptist church 663
st john’s lutheran church 601
grace baptist church 600
first congregational church 575
assembly of god church 565
new hope baptist church 540
zion lutheran church 523


The word “St.” (Saint) is common in more traditional churches, such as Catholic, Episcopalian, and Lutheran. Here are the most popular saint names used for churches:

Saint Churches
John 3,713
Paul 3,210
Mary 1,832
Peter 1,362
James 1,270
Joseph 1,153
Mark 1,062
Luke 1,053
Andrew 789
Matthew 724
Stephen 582
Michael 532
Francis 530
Thomas 511
Patrick 431
Anthony 381
George 329
Ann(e) 282
Nicholas 253
Elizabeth 220


Mountains and hills are common names for churches. I suspect that “Spring Hill” and the assorted “Pleasant”s come from the city names where the churches stand.

Mountain Churches
mt zion 1,587
mt olive(t) 1,122
mt calvary 619
mt carmel 528
mt pleasant 475
pleasant hill 394
mt moriah 329
mt sinai 316
zion hill 200
mt pisgah 191
mt nebo 139
mt tabor 136
mt pilgrim 112
mt hope 108
mt gilead 95
mt bethel 90
spring hill 90
mt hermon 85
mt lebanon 74
mars hill 59


Here are the most-common two-word phrases (including denomination names) used in some of the more popular denominations. “First” appears in 12% of Baptist church names, 10% of Methodist church names, only 3% of Lutheran church names, and fully 21% of Presbyterian church names.

Baptist Methodist Lutheran Presbyterian
first baptist united methodist trinity lutheran first presbyterian
missionary baptist first united st john’s united presbyterian
freewill baptist chapel united st paul’s cumberland presbyterian
grove baptist free methodist evangelical lutheran korean presbyterian
calvary baptist trinity united zion lutheran westminster presbyterian
hill baptist memorial united grace lutheran covenant presbyterian
zion baptist st paul our savior’s community presbyterian
hope baptist grace united faith lutheran memorial presbyterian
creek baptist grove united immanuel lutheran trinity presbyterian
faith baptist wesley united christ lutheran orthodox presbyterian
mt zion zion united peace lutheran reformed presbyterian
bethel baptist hill united redeemer lutheran grace presbyterian
new hope christ united first lutheran hill presbyterian
grace baptist bethel united good shepherd faith presbyterian
bible baptist faith united hope lutheran hope presbyterian
chapel baptist hope united calvary lutheran christ presbyterian
community baptist street united bethlehem lutheran central presbyterian
mt olive asbury united st peter’s valley presbyterian
memorial baptist park united bethany lutheran creek presbyterian
southern baptist salem united messiah lutheran park presbyterian