Pastors

‘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.

Vote for Your Favourite Pastors

 1 
Joyce Meyer
(Author)

Joyce Meyer
116
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.

Steven Furtick
56
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.

 3 
Charles Spurgeon
(One of the Most Influential and Extraordinary Preachers of the 19th century)

Charles Spurgeon
4
Birthdate: June 19, 1834
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kelvedon, England
Died: January 31, 1892

Charles Spurgeon was an English Particular Baptist preacher who was a powerful figure in the Reformed Baptist tradition. Hailed as the "Prince of Preachers", he was well respected by Christians of various denominations. He was pastor of the congregation of the New Park Street Chapel for almost four decades. He was the author of several books, sermons, and commentaries. 

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 4 
Franklin Graham
(Pastor, Missionary)

Franklin Graham
53
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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 5 
Benny Hinn
(Televangelist)

Benny Hinn
30
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.

 6 

Joseph Prince
20
Birthdate: May 15, 1963
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Singapore
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 7 

Demond Wilson
27
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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 8 
Francis Chan
(Theologian, Author)

Francis Chan
25
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.

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 9 
Andy Stanley
(Pastor)

Andy Stanley
39
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.

 10 
Fulton J. Sheen
(Archbishop)

Fulton J. Sheen
15
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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 11 
John Piper
(American pastor)

John Piper
18
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.  

 12 

John F. MacArthur
22
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.

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 13 
John Allen Chau
(American Christian missionary who was killed by the Sentinelese)

John Allen Chau
4
Birthdate: December 18, 1991
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Scottsboro, Alabama, United States
Died: November 17, 2018

 14 
John C. Maxwell
(Writer, Motivational speaker)

John C. Maxwell
15
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.

 15 
Ted Haggard
(Pastor, Priest, Preacher)

Ted Haggard
33
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 
Martin Niemöller
(Theologian)

Martin Niemöller
5
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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 17 

Huldrych Zwingli
5
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.

 18 
Paula White
(Writer)

Paula White
94
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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 19 
Carl Lentz
(Pastor, Basketball player)

Carl Lentz
8
Birthdate: October 6, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States

 20 
Joel Osteen
(American Preacher & Televangelist)

Joel Osteen
114
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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 21 
Fred Phelps
(Lawyer, Pastor, Journalist)

Fred Phelps
27
Birthdate: November 13, 1929
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Meridian
Died: March 19, 2014

 22 

Victoria Osteen
91
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.

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 23 
John Hagee
(Televangelist and founder of Cornerstone Church)

John Hagee
43
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.

 24 
Carlton Pearson
(Christian minister)

Carlton Pearson
13
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.

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 25 

Adrian Rogers
11
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.

 26 
John Harvard
(Former Clergyman known as founder of Harvard College)

John Harvard
5
Birthdate: November 26, 1607
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Southwark, London, United Kingdom
Died: September 14, 1638

 27 
Eddie Long
(Priest, Writer)

Eddie Long
25
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.

 28 
Timothy J. Keller
(Theologian)

Timothy J. Keller
13
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.

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 29 
Noel Jones
(Pastor)

Noel Jones
5
Birthdate: January 31, 1950
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Spanish Town, Jamaica

 30 
David Jeremiah
(Evangelist)

David Jeremiah
23
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.

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 31 
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.

 32 
Denis Mukwege
(Gynecologist)

Denis Mukwege
3
Birthdate: March 1, 1955
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo
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 33 
Rob Bell
(Author)

Rob Bell
31
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.

Charles R. Swindoll
8
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. 

 35 
Mark Driscoll
(Pastor, Writer)

Mark Driscoll
21
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. 

 36 
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”.

 37 
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.

 38 

Alistair Begg
4
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.

 39 
Gary Chapman
(Writer)

Gary Chapman
2
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. 

 40 
Bill Gothard
(Manager)

Bill Gothard
6
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. 

 41 
Jeremiah Wright
(Theologian)

Jeremiah Wright
27
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.

 42 
Charles Stanley
(Pastor, Radio personality)

Charles Stanley
36
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.

 43 
Graham Staines
(Former Australian missionary who was a victim of anti-Christian violence)

Graham Staines
3
Birthdate: January 18, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Palmwoods, Australia
Died: January 23, 1999

 44 
Jay Bakker
(Pastor)

Jay Bakker
22
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.

 45 

Jesse Duplantis
37
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. 

 46 

David Yonggi Cho
7
Birthdate: February 14, 1936
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ulsan

 47 
Harold Camping
(Radio personality, Civil engineer)

Harold Camping
14
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.

 48 
James Lawson
(university teacher, pastor)

James Lawson
2
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.

 49 
John Osteen
(Pastor)

John Osteen
35
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.

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.