A woman praying in a church

Different Types Of Religious Organization

Religious Organizations refer to groups of people who come together for various purposes and follow a shared set of beliefs and values.

Different types of religious organizations exist throughout the world. Let’s look at some of them here.


The most notable and recognized type of religious organization or congregation is the church. It is a large bureaucratically organized religious organization. Sociologists often differentiate churches based on their size.

Megachurches refer to any church with over 2000 members attending every week. Some megachurches have over 10,000 worshippers attending every week. The largest church in the US is in Houston, and over 35,000 members attend the church weekly.

There are more than 1,300 megachurches in the United States today, a steep increase from just 50 in 1970. Interestingly, over half of these megachurches are located in the South.

Churches are also split into two categories: denominations and ecclesia.

Denominations refer to large bureaucratic religious organizations that aren’t formally embedded as part of the state. In contrast, ecclesia refers to a sizable religious organization that’s a formal part of the state.

Typically, people don’t join an ecclesiastic organization but are born into it. Some notable examples of ecclesiastic organizations include the Catholic Church in Spain and the Lutheran Church in Sweden.

The insides of a Church Cathedral


A sect is typically formed when members break away from a larger religious organization due to conflicts. Sects are smaller religious organizations that are not as deeply integrated into the society and may have conflicting norms and values to the state.

One of the most notable examples of a sect is the Amish in the United States. Many dominant denominations, such as the Quakers, began as sects.


Cults are small religious organizations that differ from sects. The values of a cult are typically against the accepted norms of the society. Cults are also differentiated by leadership, as they aren’t a bureaucratic organization but led by charismatic leaders.

Cults have a negative connotation attached to them as being violent and dangerous. However, that’s not always the case. In fact, most major world religions and denominations today started as cults. Sociologists initially classified the Mormon denomination as a cult. Religions like Christianity and Islam were also regarded as cults when they were first conceived.

Protecting Your Church from Liability

Regardless of the type, religious organizations play a pivotal role in many people’s lives. Ensure your church is protected from liability by obtaining church insurance. Integrity Now Insurance Brokers is one of the leading church insurance companies.

Based in California, we provide church property insurance in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, Washington, and Ohio. Our services include house of worship insurance and commercial auto insurance. Contact us to protect your religious organizations from liabilities.

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