Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The 50 Most Influential Churches?

"The 2005 survey was sent to 2,000 church leaders with the goal of ranking the nation’s fastest growing churches and churches with more than 2,000 weekend attendance. The 127 churches nominated for the 50 Most Influential Churches survey were located in 32 states and represented 27 affiliation groups and/or denominations. The term affiliation is used to include networks of unaffiliated, independent churches.

Saddleback Church, launched in a home in 1980 with one family, is now listed as the nation’s most influential American congregation; and second was Willowcreek Community Church. That’s according to the 50 Most Influential Churches 2005 Survey, conducted by The Church Report."

Most noteably absent from the list was Dr. John MacArthur. John is considered by most (and certainly in the eyes of this blogentator), the finest Bible expositor in the world today. He has served faithfully as pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church for over 35 years and is the President and Professor of Pastoral Ministries of The Masters Seminary.

Read the rest of this very interesting report.


Breuss Wane said...

What's interesting is the number of second generation mega-church leaders.

Jeremy Weaver said...

There are a couple of pastors there whose ministries have influenced me, but my local church is the most influential church in my life.
I wonder how many of these churches made God's top 50? Does God even have a top 50 list? This list a little too star-studded for me.
Thnks for the posting the article Steve.

Reformer said...

Intersting, but not surprising is the tremendous diversity among the "chosen 50." From guys (not lady preachers listed - what about ole Joyce?) who are solidly Calvinistic (Piper, the 7-pointer) to guys that are mostly evangelical - like the Stanleys (both of them) and Russell - to guys that are blatant heretic - like Schuler.

What does it take for a church to be influential? How do you measure that? Just because people show up to you services and buy your books?

Steve, I also noticed immediately how John MacArthur does not ever appear on these kids of lists. For the first 5 years of my ministry, he was the single most influential resource God used in my life. He continues to be significantly influential, I have just broadened by scope these last five years.

MacArthur is a brilliant expositor, but I woudl stack my Senior Pastor - Philip DeCourcy - up to him anyday! Isn't it great that God gives us so many men who can soundly and profoundly proclaim His Word. We truly are blessed

Bhedr said...

Saw Joel O' last week. Talk about a mega -church! That new place is beyond practical. He looked like a little speck. Is there any other church as big as the one on the season opener last week? It looked like two Billy crusades and a half.

Bhedr said...

Ed Young? I think he's the one Sandy and I call the Scooby Doo preacher. He looks kinda like Shaggy. I've spent a little time looking through me Spurgeon library and methinks I found a comment from him concerning this new movement. Actually reading what he wrote makes me wonder if It's new as he propheticaly seems to be onto this nearly 140 years ago.

He says: "When you get the unconverted man to be religious-which is a very easy thing-what form does the religion take? Frequently he prefers that which most gratifies his taste, his ears, or his sight. Yes, of course he does not object to a religion which is produced and assisted by painted windows, praising machines(did he say that?I wonder what that consisted of back then?) elegant tailoring, and fine music. Men's carnal appetites are pleased with these things, and it is gratifying to human nature to discover that such things may be called religion. The fact is that there is no more true religion in fine music than in discord, and no more genuine worship in a cathedral than in a hovel. Men might well look at vestments, and windows, and carvings, in the artificers' shops where they are made, and there would be quite as much devotion as in looking at them in the place where they are fixed. Others think that if their ears are pleased with listening to an eloquent discourse, they are worshipping God. He who can speak well is to them as one who maketh a goodly sound on a pleasant instrument. Their religion is to admire elocution, but there is no religion in that. There can be no more grace in listening to an eloquent minister than in listening to an eloquent parlimentory orator. If your heart is touched, that is the worship of God; if your heart is drawn to God, that is the service of God; but if it is the mere ringing of the words, and the falling of the periods, and the cadence of the voice that you regard, why sirs, do you not worship God, but on the very horns of your altars are your sins. You are bringing a delight of your own sensuous faculties and putting that in the place of true faith and love, and then saying to your soul, "I have pleased God," whereas you have only pleased yourself."-Charles Spurgeon May 17th 1868 in 'The Deep-Seated Character Of Sin.

While this may be true for any Church and it's members; I would say the "seeker sensitive" Mega-Churches are breeding grounds for this.

Bhedr said...

Ed Young Jr. I meant

Brett said...

This list says more about the church leaders who were surveyed than anything else. It boggles my mind how Grace Community Church could be left off this list. What's worse, it's not even listed among the "also rans." Here is a man, John MacArthur, whose commentaries are perhaps the most popular commentaries on the New Testament today. This survey tells me that Biblical, expository preaching has truly fallen to the wayside in the evangelical church at large. By my reckoning, you have to drop down to number 19 to find the first true expositor on the list. I'm not sure how many of the rest of the men on the list are expositors, but my guess is less than half a dozen.

Bret said...

Yes, an interesting report indeed. I don't know why they would have a John Piper and Jerry Falwell on there, and not Dr. John MacArthur. John Piper is sovereign grace and Jerry Falwell still preaching against sin (and calvinism lately). Perhaps they didn't but Dr. John MacArthur on there because of a combination of sovereign grace, Lordship salvation and holy living, and being on Larry King Live and standing firm for the Lord on there. God only knows! I know this was 'report' is from within the physical/visible body of Christ, but I'm still reminded of Lk.6:26 which says: "Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets." Praise the Lord for people like John MacArthur, RC Sproul Sr., and Dr. James White.

Dad said...

Check out the source of this list:

Rising Evangelical Star Jason Christy Leaves Trail of Fraud, Associates Say
By Hannah Elliott

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Aug. 1 /ABP/ -- When young, charismatic Christian publisher Jason Christy was tapped two years ago to lead the powerful Christian Coalition, the group's leaders praised him for his ability "to inspire and encourage people of faith to action." But Christy's business dealings -- both before and after his one-month affiliation with the Coalition -- instead have inspired former customers and co-workers to file lawsuits charging Christy with defrauding their Christian businesses.

Christy, 36, who apparently had no previous public-policy experience, persuaded the Christian Coalition in 2005 to place him in one of the most visible and powerful positions in evangelical life. But before the coalition's leaders officially turned over the reins of their 1.2 million-member national lobbying group, they learned of a trail of legal and financial problems that has followed Christy from coast to coast.

Former associates and customers of Christy's many business ventures -- mostly Christian magazines -- say he cheated them out of money and threatened them. At least 10 of them have filed lawsuits, Associated Baptist Press has learned, and others have gotten court-issued restraining or protection orders against the Scottsdale, Ariz., businessman.

Christy says all the allegations are false. He and his supporters say "enemies" are spreading lies about him because of soured business relationships. But critics say Christy is a scam artist preying on trusting Christians.

Christy now publishes The Church Report, supposedly a conservative, national print magazine and web site. He has appeared as an analyst on CNN and spoken at megachurches like Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral. He hob-nobs with some of the evangelical elite and still has relationships with leaders in highly respected positions, like the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

This article is continued at Associated Baptist Press News:

Also at The Baptist Standard: and

Christianity Today: