‘Pastor’ in Latin means, ‘shepherd’, so in layman’s terms, a pastor is one who takes care of his or her ‘flock’ or looks after a particular congregation apart from carrying out other services of the church. They are also the ordained leaders and speakers of large Christian congregations and churches. Although the terms ‘pastors’ and ‘preachers’ are used interchangeably, there is vast difference between the two. While preachers convey sermons and other discourses to a large audience, they are not directly involved in managing and caring for the people they preach to. However, the role of a pastor includes that of a preacher and he/she is also involved in caring for the people of the church. The title of a pastor is usually given to an individual who has obtained a degree in religious studies or theology and is thus, an official role in the church, unlike preachers, who are known more for their oratory qualities. Apart from carrying out pastoral duties and looking after their role in the church, pastors are also involved with executing community-related functions. While pastors may be preachers, not all preachers become pastors. Here is a list of famous pastors. Go through their biographies, which include trivia, interesting facts, timeline and life history.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Joyce Meyer

Joyce Meyer
Famous As: Author
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

Charles Stanley
Famous As: Pastor, Radio personality
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 Paula White

Paula White
Famous As: Writer
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.

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 4 Benny Hinn

Benny Hinn
Famous As: Televangelist
Birthdate: December 3, 1952
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Jaffa, Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel

Israeli televangelist Benny Hinn gained fame with his Miracle Crusades held in stadiums across major cities and broadcast worldwide on his show This Is Your Day. He incorrectly predicted twice that the world would end. He has also authored several books, such as Lord, I Need a Miracle.

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 5 John Knox

John Knox
Famous As: Protestant Leader
Birthdate: 1514 AD
Birthplace: Giffordgate, Haddington, Scotland
Died: November 24, 1572

John Knox was a Scottish minister, writer, and theologian. Knox, who played a major role in the Scottish Reformation, is also credited with founding the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Considered a major contributor to the field of theology, John Knox's statue stands tall at New College in the University of Edinburgh, UK.

 6 Frank Reich

Frank Reich
Famous As: Football Coach
Birthdate: December 4, 1961
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Freeport, New York, United States

Frank Reich is an American former football player who played as a quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for 14 seasons. He is currently serving as the head coach for the popular NFL team, The Indianapolis Colts. Over the years, he has also been part of the coaching team for Arizona Cardinals, San Diego Chargers, and Philadelphia Eagles.

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 7 Franklin Graham

Franklin Graham
Famous As: Pastor, Missionary
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.

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 8 Joel Osteen

Joel Osteen
Famous As: American Preacher & Televangelist
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.

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 9 John F. MacArthur

John F. MacArthur
Famous As: Author
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.

 10 Demond Wilson

Demond Wilson
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 13, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Valdosta, Georgia, USA

Best known for his role in the NBC sitcom Sanford and Son, Demond Wilson had begun his career with dance and theater. A Catholic altar boy in his childhood, he later also became a minister, formed the Restoration House of America, and penned books on the New Age Movement.

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 11 John Allen Chau

John Allen Chau
Famous As: American Christian missionary who was killed by the Sentinelese
Birthdate: December 18, 1991
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Scottsboro, Alabama, United States
Died: November 17, 2018

 12 Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
Famous As: Pastor, Self-Help Writer
Birthdate: May 31, 1898
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bowersville, Ohio, United States
Died: December 24, 1993

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale was an American author and minister best known for his efforts to popularize the concept of positive thinking. His book The Power of Positive Thinking is a great testimony to his efforts. Peale influenced several US presidents, including President Richard Nixon and Donald Trump. Artist and cartoonist Scott Adams has cited Peale as a major influence.

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 13 Fred Phelps

Fred Phelps
Famous As: Lawyer, Pastor, Journalist
Birthdate: November 13, 1929
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Meridian
Died: March 19, 2014

 14 Francis Chan

Francis Chan
Famous As: Theologian, Author
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.

 15 Ted Haggard

Ted Haggard
Famous As: Pastor, Priest, Preacher
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. 

 16 Andy Stanley

Andy Stanley
Famous As: Pastor
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.

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 17 John Piper

John Piper
Famous As: American pastor
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, named for his 1986 book Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist.  

 18 Steven Furtick

Steven Furtick
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.

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 19 John Hagee

John Hagee
Famous As: Pastor, Theologian, Saxophonist
Birthdate: April 12, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Baytown

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.

 20 Fulton J. Sheen

Fulton J. Sheen
Famous As: Archbishop
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.

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 21 Joseph Prince

Joseph Prince
Famous As: Pastor
Birthdate: May 15, 1963
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Singapore

 22 Martin Niemöller

Martin Niemöller
Famous As: Theologian
Birthdate: January 14, 1892
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Lippstadt, Germany
Died: March 6, 1984
Best remembered for the quote “First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out...,” Martin Niemöller was a German pastor who tried to counter discrimination against Christian converts with Jewish heritage. His Confessing Church was perhaps his apology for initially being a Nazi sympathizer.
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 23 Huldrych Zwingli

Huldrych Zwingli
Famous As: Pastor
Birthdate: January 1, 1484
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Wildhaus, Switzerland
Died: October 11, 1531

Huldrych Zwingli was a Swiss pastor who played an important role in the Protestant Reformation in Switzerland. Also a well-known scholar and humanist, Zwingli was popular with the masses. Although he is remembered as a stern reformer, he had a great sense of humor; he often used puns, satiric fables, and spoofing in his writings.

 24 John C. Maxwell

John C. Maxwell
Famous As: Writer, Motivational speaker
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.

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 25 Carlton Pearson

Carlton Pearson
Famous As: Christian minister
Birthdate: March 19, 1953
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Carlton Pearson is an American Christian minister and gospel vocalist whose singing skills have earned him two Stellar Awards and a nomination for the prestigious Dove Award. His life and career have inspired episodes of radio and TV programs like This American Life.

 26 Victoria Osteen

Victoria Osteen
Famous As: Writer
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.

 27 Carl Lentz

Carl Lentz
Famous As: Pastor, Basketball player
Birthdate: October 6, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States

 28 David Wilkerson

David Wilkerson
Famous As: Evangelist
Birthdate: May 19, 1931
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hammond, Indiana, USA
Died: April 27, 2011

David Wilkerson was an American evangelist who founded Teen Challenge, an addiction recovery program that aims at providing rehabilitation services to people around the world. He is also credited with founding the non-denominational Times Square Church. David Wilkerson is also remembered for his biographical book The Cross and the Switchblade.

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 29 John Harvard

John Harvard
Famous As: Clergyman
Birthdate: November 26, 1607
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Southwark, Surrey, England
Died: September 14, 1638

 30 Noel Jones

Noel Jones
Famous As: Pastor
Birthdate: January 31, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Spanish Town, Jamaica
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 31 Rob Bell

Rob Bell
Famous As: Author
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.

 32 Eddie Long

Eddie Long
Famous As: Priest, Writer
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.

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 33 Timothy J. Keller

Timothy J. Keller
Famous As: Theologian
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.

 34 Adrian Rogers

Adrian Rogers
Famous As: Pastor
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.

 35 David Jeremiah

David Jeremiah
Famous As: Evangelist
Birthdate: February 13, 1941
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Toledo, Ohio, United States

David Jeremiah is an American evangelical Christian author. He is credited with founding Turning Point Radio and Television Ministries which focuses on propagating his sermons through radio and TV. The Turning Point program has earned him many awards including the 2006 National Religious Broadcasters award. David Jeremiah also serves as a senior pastor at the Shadow Mountain Community Church.

 36 Shirley Caesar

Shirley Caesar
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: October 13, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Durham, North Carolina, USA

Twelve-time Grammy-winning gospel singer Shirley Caesar is also known as The First Lady of Gospel. She began her music career with The Caravans and later went solo, releasing phenomenal hits such as Faded Rose and I Remember Mama. She also established a non-profit to serve the needy.

 37 Charles R. Swindoll

Charles R. Swindoll
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. 

 38 Barry Minkow

Barry Minkow
Famous As: Businessperson
Birthdate: March 17, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Inglewood

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.

 39 Denis Mukwege

Denis Mukwege
Famous As: Gynecologist
Birthdate: March 1, 1955
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo

 40 Paul Washer

Paul Washer
Famous As: writer
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.

 41 Robert Jeffress

Robert Jeffress
Famous As: Religious leader
Birthdate: November 29, 1955
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Texas

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.

 42 Mark Driscoll

Mark Driscoll
Famous As: Pastor, Writer
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. 

 43 Louie Giglio

Louie Giglio
Famous As: Pastor
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”.

 44 Harold Camping

Harold Camping
Famous As: Radio personality, Civil engineer
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 Gary Chapman

Gary Chapman
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 10, 1938
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: United States of America

Gary Chapman is an author and radio talk show host. He is best known as the author of The Five Love Languages series regarding human relationships. He has a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in adult education from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker on topics related to family, marriages, and relationships. 

 46 Alistair Begg

Alistair Begg
Famous As: author
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.

 47 Jay Bakker

Jay Bakker
Famous As: Pastor
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.

 48 Jeremiah Wright

Jeremiah Wright
Famous As: Theologian
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.

 49 Bill Gothard

Bill Gothard
Famous As: Manager
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. 

 50 Jesse Duplantis

Jesse Duplantis
Famous As: Herder
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. 

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