“The 2007 survey was emailed to leaders of more than 2,000 of the largest non-Catholic congregations in the nation in April-June. Participants were asked to recommend up to 10 churches they considered to be among the nation’s most influential. A total of 77 churches were recommended. A total of 53 percent of all church leader recommendations named the five churches. The top 10 churches received a total of 65 percent of all recommendations.”
Here are the top 10.
- Willow Creek Community Church – South Barrington, IL – Bill Hybels
- Saddleback Church – Lake Forest, CA – Rick Warren
- Fellowship Church – Grapevine, TX – Ed Young
- North Point Community Church – Alpharetta, GA – Andy Stanley
- LifeChurch.tv – Edmund, OK – Craig Groeschel
- Granger Community Church – Granger, IN – Mark Beeson
- Lakewood Church – Houston, TX – Joel Osteen
- Mars Hill Church – Seattle, WA – Mark Driscoll
- The Potter’s House – Dallas, TX – TD Jakes
- Seacoast Church – Mt. Pleasant, SC – Greg Surratt
Also looks like our friend Mark Batterson’s church – National Community Church in Washington, DC – made the list for the first time at #39!
You can see the rest of the list here.
I’ve posted previously about how lighthouse churches seem to replacing denominations in some circles. Someone recently posted in comments on that post:
“Doesn’t the list of ‘Lighthouse Churches’ emphasize sheer numerical growth? Is this really the way in which Jesus intends the Church to impact the world?
I know this is an old topic of conversation…”
Yes, it’s old but I think that it’s a legitimate question. My response is that numbers don’t intrinsically indicate anything. However, numbers can be one evidence of spiritual fruit. One must dig more deeply behind the numbers to determine if genuine spiritual stuff is going on. So I would simply say that here are 50 organizations that warrant our investigation to determine if they have anything to teach us. I know I have learned from some of the churches listed here.
It’s also important to stress that the absence of large numbers in a local church also isn’t a necessary indicator of a lack of real spiritual stuff going on within that community.