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Oldest & Youngest Fastest-Growing Churches in America (2011 Edition)

Kent Shaffer —  September 22, 2011

Outreach magazine has released the 2011 list of the 100 Fastest-Growing Churches in America. You can buy a copy of the list at OutreachMagazine.com. It includes an in depth analysis of the research data and is the best way to quickly glean insights from the churches listed.

Since 2004, there have been 20 top church lists that have been published. Their scope ranges from size, growth rate, and church planting to innovation and influence. Remarkably, out of the combined 1,429 rankings from the list only 487 churches have been featured.

Since defining growth can be interpreted by number as well as percentage, the fastest-growing churches list takes in to account both. It is the fairest algorithm, but it makes for a hodge podge of churches.

I find the fastest-growing churches list most interesting when looking at who the youngest and oldest fastest-growing churches in America are.

TOP 9 YOUNGEST FASTEST-GROWING CHURCHES IN AMERICA (2011 edition)

  1. 2010 – The Potter’s House Church of Denver (Denver, CO) :: E. Christopher Hill
    grew by 1,800 (51%) across 1 location
  2. 2010 – Transformation Church (Fort Mill, SC) :: Derwin Gray
    grew by 696 (95%) across 1 location
  3. 2006 – Elevation Church (Charlotte, NC) :: Steven Furtick
    grew by 2,744 (48%) across 4 locations
  4. 2006 – Element Church (St Louis, MO) :: Erik Lawson
    grew by 278 (22%) across 1 location
  5. 2005 – Grace Community Church (Clarksville, TN) :: Ron Edmondson & Chad Rowland
    grew by 528 (33%) across 2 locations
  6. 2005 – Kingdom in the Valley Christian Church (Litchfield Park, AZ) :: Reginald Steele
    grew by 650 (26%) across 2 locations
  7. 2005 – Shore Fellowship Church (Egg Harbor Township, NJ) :: Tim Chambers
    grew by 386 (30%) across 1 location
  8. 2005 – The Crossing Church (Tampa, FL) :: Greg Dumas
    grew by 560 (13%) across 2 locations
  9. 2005 – Barefoot Church (North Myrtle, SC) :: Clay NeSmith
    grew by 288 (22%) across 2 locations

TOP 7 OLDEST FASTEST-GROWING CHURCHES IN AMERICA (2011 edition)

  1. 1808 – Huntsville First United Methodist Church (Huntsville, AL) :: Glenn Conner
    grew by 255 (29%) across 1 location
  2. 1834 – Traders Point Christian Church (Indianapolis, IN) :: Aaron Brockett
    grew by 640 (23%) across 1 location
  3. 1865 – Calvary Baptist Church (Clearwater, FL) :: Willy Rice
    grew by 495 (17%) across 1 location
  4. 1870 – Cross Church Northwest Arkansas (Springdale, AR) :: Ronnie Floyd
    grew by 852 (13%) across 3 locations
  5. 1909 – Parklawn Assembly of God (Milwaukee, WI) :: Walter Harvey
    grew by 284 (23%) across 1 location
  6. 1917 – Christ Fellowship Baptist Church (Miami, FL) :: Rick Blackwood
    grew by 866 (16%) across 5 locations
  7. 1923 – Los Angeles International Church (Los Angeles, CA) :: Matthew Barnett
    grew by 1,100 (18%) across 1 location

To see the full list in their original rankings, visit OutreachMagazine.com.

Related Reading:
Top Churches to Watch in America
US Churches to Watch (state-by-state listing)
Largest Churches in America

Top 70 Largest Gigachurches in America (2011 edition)

Kent Shaffer —  September 15, 2011

UPDATE: When this list was first published, First Baptist Church (Hammond, IN) was accidentally listed twice (2011 & 2010 numbers). It is now corrected.

Outreach magazine has released the 2011 list of the 100 Largest Churches in America. You can buy a copy of the list at OutreachMagazine.com. It includes an in depth analysis of the research data and is the best way to quickly glean insights from the churches listed.

Since 2004, there have been 20 largest churches lists that have been published. Their scope ranges from size, growth rate, and church planting to innovation and influence. Remarkably, out of the combined 1,429 rankings from the list only 487 churches have been featured.

In the 6 years of measuring the largest churches (gigachurches with 10,000+ weekly attendance), 70 gigachurches have been listed. However, on the new 2011 list, only 39 of these 70 gigachurches reported their numbers. What happened to the other 31 gigachurches?

I call them them invisible gigachurches.

TOP LARGEST U.S. GIGACHURCHES (including invisible gigachurches)
Only the first 15 churches from 2011′s list are named out of respect to Outreach magazine. Outreach is selling the full list here. All invisible gigachurches from 2006-2010 are named.

  1. 43,500 // Lakewood Church (Houston, TX) – Joel Osteen
  2. 27,429 // North Point Community Church (Atlanta, GA) – Andy Stanley
  3. **26,776 (2009) // LifeChurch.tv (Edmond, OK) – Craig Groeschel
  4. 24,377 // Willow Creek Community Church (South Barrington, IL) – Bill Hybels
  5. **23,900 (2006) // Without Walls International (Tampa, FL) – Paula White
  6. 20,801 // Southeast Christian Church (Louisville, KY) – Dave Stone
  7. **20,000 (2008) // West Angeles Church of God in Christ (Los Angeles, CA) – Charles Blake
  8. 19,742 // Saddleback Church (Lake Forest, CA) – Rick Warren
  9. 18,386 // Woodlands Church (Woodlands, TX) -  Kerry Shook
  10. 18,223 // Central Christian Church (Las Vegas, NV) – Jud Wilhite
  11. 18,061 // Second Baptist Church (Houston, TX) – Ed Young, Sr.
  12. 17,900 // First Assembly of God (Phoenix, AZ) – Tommy Barnett
  13. 17,887 – Christ’s Church of the Valley (Peoria, AZ) :: Don Wilson
  14. **17,000 (2008) // The Potter’s House (Dallas, TX) – TD Jakes
  15. 16,621 // Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) – Bob Coy
  16. **16,000 (2008) // Hopewell Missionary Baptist (Norcross, GA) – William Sheals
  17. 15,722 // Christ Fellowship (Palm Beach Gardens) – Tom Mullins
  18. 15,704 // Gateway Church (Southlake, TX) – Robert Morris
  19. 14,776 // First Baptist Church (Hammond, IN) – Jack Schaap
  20. 14,525 // Family Christian Center (Munster, IN) – Stephan Munsey
  21. 14,440 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  22. 14,200 //see Outreach’s 2011 list
  23. 14,125 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  24. **13,796 (2010) // Fellowship Church (Grapevine, TX) – Ed Young Jr.
  25. 13,607 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  26. **13,500 (2008) // New Light Christian Center (Houston, TX) – Ira Hillard
  27. 13,346 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  28. 13,224 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  29. 13,218 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  30. 13,200 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  31. **13,000 (2009) // New Birth Missionary Baptist (Decatur, GA) – Eddie Long
  32. **13,000 (2006) // Greater St Stephen Full Baptist Church (New Orleans, LA) – Paul Morton Sr
  33. 12,708 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  34. 12,637 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  35. 12,637 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  36. 12,504 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  37. 12,023 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  38. 12,000 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  39. **12,000 (2008) // Calvary Chapel Golden Springs (Diamond Bar, CA) – Raul Ries
  40. 11,821 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  41. **11,752 (2008) // The Fountain of Praise (Houston, TX) – Remus Wright
  42. **11,500 (2006) // Jericho City of Praise (Landover, MD) – Betty Peebles
  43. **11,344 (2007) // Calvary Community Church (Phoenix, AZ) – J. Mark Martin
  44. 11,340 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  45. **11,289 (2010) // Kensington Community Church (Troy, MI) – Steve Andrews
  46. 11,201 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  47. 11,200 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  48. 11,023 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  49. 11,000 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  50. **11,000 (2007) // Word of Faith International Christian Center (Southfield, MI) – Keith Butler
  51. 10,848 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  52. **10,800 (2009) // Calvary Chapel South Bay (Gardena, CA) – Steve Mays
  53. **10,800 (2008) // Valley Bible Fellowship (Bakersfield, CA) – Ron Vietti
  54. **10,550 (2009) // Redemption World Outreach (Greenville, SC) – Ron Carpenter
  55. 10,494 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  56. **10,300 (2009) // Faith Fellowship Ministries (Sayreville, NJ) – David Demola
  57. **10,263 (2009) // Northland a Church Distributed (Longwood, FL) – Joel Hunter
  58. 10,147 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  59. ** 10,047 (2010) // McLean Bible Church (Vienna, VA) – Lon Soloman
  60. **10,035 (2008) // St. Matthew’s Baptist Church (Williamstown, NJ) – Raymond Gordon
  61. 10,000 // see Outreach’s 2011 list
  62. **10,000 (2009) // First A.M.E. Church (Los Angeles, CA) – John Hunter
  63. **10,000 (2008) // Faith Community Church (West Covina, CA) – Jim Reeve
  64. **10,000 (2008) // Faith Landmarks Ministries (Richmond, VA)
  65. **10,000 (2008) // Heritage Christian Center (Denver, CO) – Dennis Leonard
  66. **10,000 (2008) // Mount Zion Baptist Church (Nashville, TN) – Joseph Walker III
  67. **10,000 (2008) // World Changers Church International (College Park, GA) – Creflo Dollar
  68. **10,000 (2007) // Mars Hill Bible Church (Grandville, MI) – Rob Bell
  69. **10,000 (2006) // Church on the Move (Tulsa, OK) – Willie George
  70. **10,000 (2006) // The Brooklyn Tabernacle (Brooklyn, NY) – Jim Cymbala

So how many gigachurches are there really in the United States?

Related Reading:
Top Churches in America to Watch (by category)
US Churches to Watch (state-by-state listing)
Top Church Websites of 2012

Top 100 Largest Churches in America of 2008

Kent Shaffer —  September 29, 2008

Outreach magazine has released their 2008 list of the Top 100 Largest Churches in America. To see the full list, you can (1) buy a downloadable PDF or (2) buy a copy of the magazine’s special issue.

For a sneak peak at this year’s rankings, here are the top 15 largest churches in America for 2008 as well as how they ranked in 2007 and 2006.

Top 15 (of 100) Largest Churches in America for 2008

  1. Lakewood Church (Houston, TX) :: Joel Osteen
    Founded 1959 :: 1 location
    #1 = 43,500 (2008)
    #1 = 47,000 (2007)
    #1 = 45,000 (2006)
  2. Second Baptist Church (Houston, TX) :: Ed Young Sr.
    Founded 1927 :: 5 locations
    #2 = 23,659 (2008)
    #3 = 23,198 (2007)
    #3 = 22,266 (2006)
  3. North Point Community Church (Alpharetta, GA) :: Andy Stanley
    Founded 1995 :: 3 locations
    #3 = 22,557 (2008)
    #7 = 17,700 (2007)
    #12 = 16,700 (2006)
  4. Willow Creek Community Church (South Barrington, IL) :: Bill Hybels
    Founded 1975 :: 4 locations
    #4 = 22,500 (2008)
    #2 = 23,500 (2007)
    #5 = 21,500 (2006)
  5. LifeChurch.tv (Edmond, OK) :: Craig Groeschel
    Founded 1996 :: 11 locations
    #5 = 20,823 (2008)
    #5 = 19,907 (2007)
    #13 = 16,071 (2006)
  6. West Angeles Church of God in Christ (Los Angeles, CA) :: Charles Blake
    Founded 1943 :: 1 location
    #6 = 20,000 (2008)
    #50 = 8,350 (2006)
  7. Fellowship Church (Grapevine, TX) :: Ed Young Jr.
    Founded 1989 :: 5 locations
    #7 = 19,913 (2008)
    #16 = 13,000 (2007)(rumored misreport)
    #9 = 18,124 (2006
  8. Saddleback Church (Lake Forest, CA) :: Rick Warren
    Founded 1980 :: 2 locations
    #8 = 19,414 (2008)
    #4 = 22,000 (2007)
    #6 = 20,595 (2006)
  9. Calvary Chapel (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) :: Bob Coy
    Founded 1985 :: 3 locations
    #9 = 18,000 (2008)
    #9 = 17,000 (2007)
    #8 = 18,300 (2006)
  10. The Potter’s House (Dallas, TX) :: T.D. Jakes
    Founded 1996 :: 1 location
    #10 = 17,000 (2008)
    #10 = 17,000 (2007)
    #20 = 14,000 (2006)
  11. Woodlands Church (The Woodlands, TX) :: Kerry Shook
    Founded 1993 :: 3 locations
    #11 = 16,380 (2008)
    #12 = 15,600 (2007)
    #18 = 14,120 (2006)
  12. Southeast Christian Church (Louisville, KY) :: Dave Stone
    Founded 1962 :: 1 location
    #12 = 16,264 (2008)
    #6 = 18,013 (2007)
    #7 = 18,520 (2006)
  13. Hopewell Missionary Baptist (Norcross, GA) :: William Sheals
    Founded 1860s :: 1 location
    #13 = 16,000 (2008)
  14. New Birth Missionary Baptist (Decatur, GA) :: Eddie Long
    Founded 1984 :: 1 location
    #14 = 15,000 (2008)
    #13 = 15,000 (2007)
    #4 = 22,000 (2006)
  15. NorthRidge Church (Plymouth, MI) :: Brad Powell
    Founded 1929 :: 1 location
    #15 = 14,762 (2008)
    #15 = 13,865 (2007)
    #23 = 12,700 (2006)

These “largest churches” are great sources of ministry ideas and examples. This does not mean you should copy what they do. Your ministry has a unique calling that requires unique actions.

Learn from the mistakes and successes of these “largest churches.” Learn how to do what they do better and within the context of your calling.