Youngest Megachurch Pastor?

by Warren Bird

For U.S. churches with 2,000 and more attenders – commonly known as megachurches – the typical senior pastor is age 55. That average almost obscures the amazingly wide range from youngest to oldest.

The “most senior” department includes Charles Stanley who came to Atlanta’s First Baptist Church in 1971. Born in 1932, he’s in his 80s. Chuck Swindoll was born in 1934, Ed Young Sr in 1936, and John MacArthur in 1939. (All these dates have been published in newspapers and other media, so I’m not letting out any secrets!)

What about the youngest leaders? They start at age 30. Here’s my sense of the roughly dozen youngest megachurch pastors, again taken from published reports (and most confirmed by me interviewing or emailing them):

Church City St/Prov Webaddress Senior Pastor Born SP There Since
Victory Christian Center Tulsa OK Paul Daugherty 1985 2014
Experience Life Lubbock TX Chris Galanos 1982 2007
Rock City Church Hilliard OH Chad Fisher 1981 2000
First Baptist West Monroe West Monroe LA Michael Wood 1981 2014
RiverTree Christian Church Massillon OH Jason Lantz 1981 2014
Village Church Surrey BC Mark Clark 1981 2010
Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church Memphis TN Jason Turner 1981 2013
Valley Creek Church Flower Mound TX John Stickl 1981 2010
Cherry Hills Community Church Highlands Ranch CO Shane Farmer 1981 2013
Bethany Church Baker LA Jonathan Stockstill 1981 2011
Quest Community Church Lexington KY Justin Mccarty 1980 2014
Victory Church Oklahoma City OK Jon Chasteen 1980 2014
McKinney Memorial Bible Church Fort Worth TX Chris Freeland 1980 2011
New Life Fellowship Elmhurst NY Rich Villodas 1980 2013
Elevation Church Matthews NC Steven Furtick 1980 2006


Predictably, this list is always changing! When I first created this blog, Chris Galanos was the youngest megachurch senior pastor in the United States. The two photos in this blog are of him and the church he leads, which was founded in 2007.

For more blogs in this  “megachurch” series, see also World’s First Megachurch?”,  “Megachurch Languages?”, “Biggest Megachurch Sanctuaries?” , “Megachurch Books?” and “How Many Megachurches?”. For global megachurches, see 

RESEARCH NOTE: This blog was last updated June 2015.