The Christian Post reports on the Outlook100 fastest growing churches in the United States. Here are some excerpts from the article:
Topping the fifth annual list again this year was Lakewood Church in Houston with 43,500 attendants, followed by Second Baptist Church in the same city with 23,659 and then North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga., with 22,557.
Overall, the combined attendance of all 103 churches was 1,128,451 which is an increase of 111,527 people from 2007.
While some of the most well-known churches still rank highest in the report, some showed a drop in attendance over the last year. Lakewood, led by Pastor Joel Osteen, saw a dip from 47,000 attendants in 2007. Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., experienced a drop from 23,500 people to 22,500, placing the megachurch at No. 4 this year.
Also, Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., led by Pastor Rick Warren, went down from 22,000 weekend attendants to 19,414. Saddleback is ranked as No. 8 this year after ranking No. 4 in 2007.
What brings meaning to the numbers are the stories behind them – the changed lives and transformed communities."
Nevertheless, Stetzer pointed out that pastors can still learn from larger churches.
"Nothing can replace the work you do in your own church, your own community, among the lost in your own neighborhood," he said. "A pastor has to have a passion and a fire to reach, teach, and disciple those near. But we can also learn from others – many of whom were small churches themselves a few years ago."
You can buy a copy of the magazine for 5 bucks at the Outlook magazine site if you're interested.
The numbers are interesting if nothing else just to see how large some places are. Something the article mentioned was the fact that many churches (Willow Creek included) are moving to multi-site setups. Oftentimes the sermon portion is broadcast to all the services with everything else being run in house. Anyone go to a multisite church?