Famous American Pastors

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Over past four centuries, the office of a pastor in the Christian church has been a role that has been accepted without question. That is right! Since the days of John Calvin, church government has comprised of a pastor and the elders — the elected representatives of the congregation. This pyramidal governmental structure of the church, with the pastor as the head and the rest of the board beneath him, is how the church administration is organized. While many modern day church-goers defy this structure, there is little denying the importance a pastor holds in the daily workings of a Church and Christianity, at large. America has been home to many such reverend pastors who have given new meaning to their religion. Divinely gifted, they are America’s most famous and highly sought preachers involved in the task of redeeming souls and fighting evil forces. Let us check out the biography, timeline, trivia and facts on America’s famous pastors.
Vote for Your Favourite American Pastors
 1 
Joyce Meyer
(Author)
Joyce Meyer
168
Birthdate: June 4, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: St. Louis
Charismatic Christian author, televangelist, and motivational speaker Joyce Meyer is the president of Joyce Meyer Ministries. She has written countless self-help and religious books, including The Penny: A Novel. She is also known for her widely broadcast TV program Enjoying Everyday Life. She owns many homes and a private jet.
 2 
Charles Stanley
(Pastor, Radio personality)
Charles Stanley
44
Birthdate: September 25, 1932
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dry Fork, Pittsylvania County, Virginia
Pastor of the First Baptist Church Charles Stanley had also established In Touch Ministries. A born-again Christian since age 12, he later gained fame with his show In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley, which was translated into 107 languages. He has also penned countless books on religion.
 3 
Franklin Graham
(Pastor, Missionary)
Franklin Graham
59
Birthdate: July 14, 1952
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Asheville

The son of evangelist Billy Graham, Franklin Graham followed in his father's footsteps to become a missionary and an evangelist. He now heads both the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse. He has also produced Christian-themed movies and docu-dramas such as Second Chance and Facing Darkness.

Steven Furtick
89
Birthdate: February 19, 1980
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Moncks Corner

The founder of the Elevation Church of Charlotte, North Carolina, one of the country’s fastest-growing churches, pastor Steven Furtick also holds a communication degree. The father of two is also a New York Times best-selling writer and has penned books such as Sun Stand Still and Crash the Chatterbox.

 5 
John Allen Chau
(American Christian missionary who was killed by the Sentinelese)
John Allen Chau
8
Birthdate: December 18, 1991
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Scottsboro, Alabama, United States
Died: November 17, 2018
 6 
Shaun King
(Writer, Civil Rights Activist and Co-Founder of Real Justice PAC)
Shaun King
6
Birthdate: May 29, 1977
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Franklin County, Kentucky, United States

Writer and civil rights activist, Shaun King, is the co-founder of Real Justice PAC. He is known for making extensive use of social media to promote causes like Black Lives Matter. He has worked as a teacher and pastor and is the founder of the Courageous Church. He launched the campaign Justice Together in 2015 to fight against police brutality.

 7 
Francis Chan
(Theologian, Author)
Francis Chan
33
Birthdate: August 31, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hong Kong

The Cornerstone Church and Eternity Bible College founder Francis Chan is a popular Protestant preacher. Apart from authoring the New York Times bestseller Crazy Love, Francis has also penned children’s books such as Halfway Herbert and Ronnie Wilson's Gift. He has also co-launched the discipleship movement named Multiply.

 8 
Fulton J. Sheen
(Archbishop)
Fulton J. Sheen
17
Birthdate: May 8, 1895
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: El Paso, Illinois
Died: December 9, 1979

Catholic bishop Fulton J. Sheen was also a prominent radio and TV personality. Known for his stint on the NBC radio show The Catholic Hour, he also hosted the popular TV programs Life Is Worth Living and The Bishop Fulton Sheen Show. He also wrote extensively on communism, love, and peace.

 9 
John Piper
(American pastor)
John Piper
24
Birthdate: January 11, 1946
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chattanooga

John Piper is a theologian and pastor. He is the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Previously, he taught biblical studies at Bethel University and preached at Bethlehem Baptist Church. He believes in the theological doctrine of sola fide. He is the founder of desiringGod.org, named for his 1986 book Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist.  

 10 
Andy Stanley
(Pastor)
Andy Stanley
51
Birthdate: May 16, 1958
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Atlanta

North Point Ministries founder Andy Stanley has been the senior pastor of many churches, such as the North Point and the Browns Bridge community churches. He has also penned several books, such as The New Rules for Love, Sex & Dating, and has created the show Your Move with Andy Stanley.

 11 
John F. MacArthur
26
Birthdate: June 19, 1939
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

John F. MacArthur is an American author and pastor best known for his television and radio program Grace to You which is broadcast all over the world. MacArthur has been playing an important role in the prosperity of a non-denominational, evangelical megachurch called Grace Community Church where he has been serving as a pastor-teacher since 1969.

 12 
Fred Phelps
(Lawyer, Pastor, Journalist)
Fred Phelps
31
Birthdate: November 13, 1929
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Meridian
Died: March 19, 2014
 13 
John C. Maxwell
(Writer, Motivational speaker)
John C. Maxwell
25
Birthdate: February 20, 1947
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Garden City

The author of bestsellers such as The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John C. Maxwell is a renowned American pastor. He has founded organizations such as EQUIP and INJOY, and his teams have trained leaders of various organizations. He has spoken in front government leaders, army men, and corporates.

 14 
Joel Osteen
(American Preacher & Televangelist)
Joel Osteen
151
Birthdate: March 5, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Houston

Joel Osteen is an American pastor, author, and televangelist. He is one of the most popular televangelists in the world, with his televised sermons being watched by millions of people every week in over 100 countries, including 10 million viewers in the US alone. In 2006, he was named in the 10 Most Fascinating People list published by Barbara Walters.

 15 
Victoria Osteen
122
Birthdate: March 28, 1961
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Huntsville

Better known as the wife of pastor Joel Osteen, Victoria Osteen is a co-pastor at the Lakewood Church. She had met Joel at her mother’s jewelry store. Initially a student of psychology, she later deviated to spirituality. She is also a bestselling author of books such as Love Your Life.

 16 
Carl Lentz
(Pastor, Basketball player)
Carl Lentz
21
Birthdate: October 6, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States
 17 
Paula White
(American Televangelist and Christian Author)
Paula White
113
Birthdate: April 20, 1966
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tupelo, Mississippi, United States

Better known as the spiritual advisor to Donald Trump, Paula White became the first female clergy to deliver the inauguration invocation of a U.S. president. The televangelist and preacher also chaired Trump’s evangelical advisory board. She is also known for her Without Walls International Church and the show Paula White Today.

 18 
John Hagee
(Televangelist and founder of Cornerstone Church)
John Hagee
51
Birthdate: April 12, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Baytown, Texas, United States

The founder of the John Hagee Ministries and the Christians United for Israel, John Hagee has also established the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas. He has penned several bestsellers, such as Absolute Power, and is also known for his controversial concepts, such as the blood moon prophecy.

 19 
Adrian Rogers
17
Birthdate: September 12, 1931
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: West Palm Beach
Died: November 15, 2005

Adrian Rogers was an American conservative author and Southern Baptist pastor. He was a three-time president of the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Baptist denomination in the world. From 1972 to 2005, he served as the senior pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church. During his pastorate, the membership of the church grew from 9,000 to 29,000.

 20 
Timothy J. Keller
(Theologian)
Timothy J. Keller
15
Birthdate: September 23, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States

The author of the New York Times bestsellers The Prodigal God and The Reason for God, Timothy J. Keller also chairs Redeemer City to City, which establishes new churches and trains pastors. He is also the founder of the Manhattan-based Redeemer Presbyterian Church. In 2020, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

 21 
Eddie Long
(Priest, Writer)
Eddie Long
29
Birthdate: May 12, 1953
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Huntersville
Died: January 15, 2017

Senior pastor of the megachurch New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Eddie Long made headlines when a few minor male congregants accused him of sexual abuse. He held a business administration degree and also worked as a sales representative. His long struggle with cancer eventually ended in his death at 63.

 22 
Noel Jones
(Pastor)
Noel Jones
5
Birthdate: January 31, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Spanish Town, Jamaica
 23 
Mark Driscoll
(Pastor, Writer)
Mark Driscoll
23
Birthdate: October 11, 1970
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Grand Forks

Mark Driscoll is an evangelical pastor and author. He is best known as the founder of Mars Hill Church. He also founded The Resurgence, a theological cooperative, and co-founded  Acts 29 Network, a parachurch organization. He is currently serving as the senior pastor of The Trinity Church in Scottsdale, Arizona. He is the author of several books. 

 24 
Ted Haggard
(Pastor, Priest, Preacher)
Ted Haggard
43
Birthdate: June 27, 1956
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Yorktown

Ted Haggard is an evangelical pastor who founded New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is also the founder of the Association of Life-Giving Churches. He is against same-sex marriages. In 2006, it was revealed that he had paid a male sex worker for sexual favors and also purchased some illegal drugs from him. 

Charles R. Swindoll
10
Birthdate: October 18, 1934
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: El Campo

Charles R. Swindoll is an evangelical Christian author, pastor, educator, and radio preacher. He is credited with founding Insight for Living which airs a radio program on over 2,000 stations in 15 languages. Over the years Swindoll has received several awards like RHA’s Clergyman of the Year award. He is currently serving as a senior pastor at Stonebriar Community Church. 

 26 
Paul Washer
(writer)
Paul Washer
7
Birthdate: 1961 AD
Birthplace: United States of America

Paul Washer is an American evangelist who served as a missionary for 10 years in Peru. He is credited with founding the HeartCry Missionary Society in order to support indigenous missionaries. Paul Washer has also written several books, including Truth About Man, The Gospel's Power and Message, and Discerning the Plight of Man.

 27 
Rob Bell
(Author, Religious Leader and Founder of 'Mars Hill Bible Church')
Rob Bell
36
Birthdate: August 23, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Michigan, United States

Former pastor and teacher Rob Bell has penned countless books, including the New York Times bestsellers Love Wins and What Is the Bible? He established the Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan in his late 20s. He has also made it to Time 100. He also hosts a podcast and is a sought-after speaker.

 28 
Barry Minkow
(Businessperson, Pastor, and convicted felon)
Barry Minkow
9
Birthdate: March 22, 1966
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Inglewood, California, United States

Businessman, felon and pastor, Barry Minkow opened his first business while in high school. But faced with fund crunch, he soon resorted to felony, ultimately executing a massive investment fraud, resulting in imprisonment. Later he became a pastor and fraud investigator, concurrently continuing with his illegal dealings, resulting in another confinement and a sentence to pay $612 million in restitution.

 29 
Robert Jeffress
(American Southern Baptist Pastor and Televangelist)
Robert Jeffress
11
Birthdate: November 29, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Texas, United States

Best known as a senior pastor of the Dallas-based First Baptist Church, Robert Jeffress is also a major Fox News contributor. He boasts of multiple theological degrees and is married to his high-school sweetheart, Amy. He has reached millions through his religious program Pathway to Victory.

 30 
Louie Giglio
(Pastor)
Louie Giglio
16
Birthdate: June 30, 1958
Sun Sign: Cancer

Baptist pastor Louie Giglio, who founded the Passion Movement, is a bestselling author of books such as Goliath Must Fall and Not Forsaken. Though a great speaker, he has invited criticism for his controversial comments, such as when he suggested that “white privilege” was actually “white blessing”.

 31 
Jay Bakker
(Pastor)
Jay Bakker
28
Birthdate: December 18, 1975
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Charlotte

Born to televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Jay Bakker later followed in his parents’ footsteps and established the Revolution Church. His version of Christianity is open to concepts such as homosexuality and gay marriage. He has also penned books such as Son of a Preacher Man.

 32 
Bill Gothard
(Manager)
Bill Gothard
8
Birthdate: November 2, 1934
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Illinois

Bill Gothard is a Christian minister, speaker, and writer. He founded the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP). He is a conservative and teaches his followers to memorize the Bible, raise large families, and dress conservatively. In 2014, he was accused of numerous cases of sexual harassment and molestation and had to step down from IBLP. 

 33 
Greg Laurie
(Pastor)
Greg Laurie
8
Birthdate: December 10, 1952
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Long Beach

Greg Laurie is an American pastor and author who is currently serving as a pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship. He is also closely associated with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, serving on the association's board of directors. Greg Laurie has also authored over 70 books, including The Upside-Down Church which won a Gold Medallion Book Award in 2000.

 34 
Alistair Begg
6
Birthdate: 1952 AD
Birthplace: Glasgow

Alistair Begg is an American pastor and author. Since 1983, Begg has been serving as the senior pastor at Cleveland's Parkside Church. His program Truth For Life, which broadcasts his sermons on the radio to stations across North America, is quite popular among his followers. Begg has also penned several influential books like Preaching for God's Glory and Pray Big.

 35 
Jeremiah Wright
(Theologian)
Jeremiah Wright
30
Birthdate: September 22, 1941
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Philadelphia

Dr. Jeremiah Wright had initially served the Marine Corps before joining the U.S. Navy as a cardiopulmonary technician. He has also been a professor, and his research interests include Black Sacred Music and African diaspora studies. He also led the Trinity United Church of Christ as a pastor.

 36 
John Osteen
(American Pastor and Founding Pastor of 'Lakewood Church')
John Osteen
43
Birthdate: August 21, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, Texas, United States
Died: January 23, 1999

Pastor and televangelist John Osteen is best remembered for his 16-year stint on the show John Osteen. He also established the Lakewood Church in Houston and penned countless books, such as Becoming a Man of Unwavering Faith. His son Joel Osteen followed in his footsteps.

 37 
Jerry Falwell
35
Birthdate: August 11, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lynchburg
Died: May 15, 2007

Televangelist and religious leader Jerry Falwell Sr. was also a co-founder of the Moral Majority, a political platform for the promotion of conservative Christian ideals. He also established the Liberty University and later tried to revive the PTL after its leader Jim Bakker was accused of rape.

 38 
James Lawson
(university teacher, pastor)
James Lawson
4
Birthdate: September 22, 1928
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Massillon

James Lawson is an American professor and activist. A prominent tactician and theoretician of nonviolence, Lawson played a major role during the Civil Rights Movement. In the 1960s, Lawson doubled up as a mentor to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee as well as the Nashville Student Movement. James Lawson also served as a pastor for 25 years.

Craig Groeschel
6
Birthdate: December 2, 1967
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Houston

Craig Groeschel is the founder of Life.Church, an evangelical multi-site church with a presence in ten US states. He graduated from Oklahoma City University. Eventually, he began a career as a pastor and attended Phillips Theological Seminary. Along with a few others, he founded Life.Church. The church was named America's Most Innovative Church in 2007 and 2008. 

Juanita Bynum
28
Birthdate: January 16, 1959
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago

Pastor Juanita Bynum has penned several books, such as The Threshing Floor and the No More Sheets series. She has also released gospel albums such as Piece of My Passion. She once revealed in an interview that before her spiritual awakening, she had been a bisexual and had done drugs.

Tullian Tchividjian
8
Birthdate: July 13, 1972
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Jacksonville

Tullian Tchividjian is an American author and pastor who has written several books about Christianity. He has also contributed to a variety of Christian publications in addition to appearing on several major TV news programs. Tullian Tchividjian is credited with founding an Evangelical Presbyterian Church congregation as well as starting an unaffiliated church named The Sanctuary. 

 42 
Fred Shuttlesworth
(Politician)
Fred Shuttlesworth
4
Birthdate: March 18, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Mount Meigs
Died: October 5, 2011

Civil rights activist and Baptist minister Fred Shuttlesworth had also co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, along with others such as Martin Luther King, Jr. He also participated in the Freedom Rights and had been the target of a major assassination attempt by the Ku Klux Klan.

 43 
Jesse Duplantis
47
Birthdate: July 9, 1949
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: New Orleans

Jesse Duplantis is a preacher and the founder of Jesse Duplantis Ministries. He hails from the Christian Evangelical Charismatic tradition and is considered a preacher of the prosperity gospel. His ministry owns a private jet that he uses for traveling across the world to preach. He is often criticized for his lavish lifestyle that is mainly funded by people’s donations. 

 44 
Harold Camping
(Radio personality, Civil engineer)
Harold Camping
18
Birthdate: July 19, 1921
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Boulder
Died: December 15, 2013

Californian evangelist and preacher Harold Camping made headlines when he incorrectly predicted the date of the Rapture, or the end of the world, to be May 21, 2011. Initially a civil engineer, Camping later came to be known for leading Family Radio, a Christian broadcast station, in its peak.

 45 
Chuck Smith
(Pastor)
Chuck Smith
0
Birthdate: June 25, 1927
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ventura, California, United States
Died: October 3, 2013
 46 
Edward Everett
(Former American senator)
Edward Everett
4
Birthdate: April 11, 1794
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts
Died: January 15, 1865

Edward Everett was an American politician, diplomat, educator, pastor, and orator. Widely regarded as one of the great orators of the Civil War and antebellum eras, Everett is remembered for his two-hour speech at the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg in 1863, where Abraham Lincoln delivered his popular Gettysburg Address. Edward Everett also taught ancient Greek literature at Harvard University.

 47 
John Ortberg
(Author, Theologian, Psychologist)
John Ortberg
8
Birthdate: May 5, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rockford

John Ortberg is an evangelical Christian speaker and author. A prolific writer, John Ortberg's book If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat won the 2002 Christianity Today Book Award. In 2008, his book When the Game is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box won the ECPA Christian Book Award.

 48 
Robert H. Schuller
(Pastor, Non-fiction writer)
Robert H. Schuller
20
Birthdate: September 16, 1926
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Alton
Died: April 2, 2015

The founder of the California-based Crystal Cathedral, Robert H. Schuller had begun preaching at a drive-in theater. Later, his weekly TV ministry Hour of Power became hugely popular. He had also penned books such as Tough Times Never Last but Tough People Do and Your Future is Your Friend.

 49 
D. James Kennedy
4
Birthdate: November 3, 1930
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Augusta, Georgia, United States
Died: September 5, 2007

D. James Kennedy was a pastor, evangelist, broadcaster, and author. He was the senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale for almost five decades. In the 1970s, he started a weekly religious television program The Coral Ridge Hour, which was aired in 200 countries. He was also a founding member of the board of Moral Majority. 

 50 
Lyman Beecher
(Clergyman)
Lyman Beecher
6
Birthdate: October 12, 1775
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Haven
Died: January 10, 1863

Known for his stance against alcoholism, publishing six time-honored sermons on it, Presbyterian minister Lyman Beecher also worked for women’s education. An active participant in theological controversies, adhering to the New School Presbyterian branch of schism, he was once tried for heresy. However, he is equally remembered for fathering thirteen children, seven of whom earned distinction in their chosen field.