The 5,000-capacity Liushi church, which boasts more than twice as many seats as Westminster Abbey and a 206ft crucifix that can be seen for miles around, opened last year with one theologian declaring it a "miracle that such a small town was able to build such a grand church".
"It is a wonderful thing to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
Prof Yang, a leading expert on religion in China, believes that number will swell to around 160 million by 2025.
That would likely put China ahead even of the United States, which had around 159 million Protestants in 2010 but whose congregations are in decline.
"There wasn't room in the old building for all the followers, especially at Christmas and at Easter.
The new one is big and eye-catching." The Liushi church is not alone.
It gives us great confidence," beamed Jin Hongxin, a 40-year-old visitor who was admiring the golden cross above Liushi's altar in the lead up to Holy Week.
Officially, the People's Republic of China is an atheist country but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied.
"They want the pastor to preach in a Communist way.
Some officials argue that religious groups can provide social services the government cannot, while simultaneously helping reverse a growing moral crisis in a land where cash, not Communism, has now become king.
They appear to agree with David Cameron, the British prime minister, who said last week that Christianity could help boost Britain's "spiritual, physical and moral" state.
Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao's death in 1976 signalled the end of the Cultural Revolution.
Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world's number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation.
From Yunnan province in China's balmy southwest to Liaoning in its industrial northeast, congregations are booming and more Chinese are thought to attend Sunday services each week than do Christians across the whole of Europe.