Global grungy
I recently read the Outreach Magazine report on the 100 largest and 100 fastest-growing churches in America. There were some surprises.

  • The state with the most churches among the 100 largest: California (18). My guess was Texas or Georgia. They were 2 and 3.
  • Church with the most sites: Brentwood Baptist with 29 sites. My guess was LifeChurch.TV. They were second with 13.
  • The oldest church among the 100 largest is First A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles, founded in 1872.
  • The newest church among the 100 largest is Community of Faith in Cypress, Texas (near Houston), founded in 2002.
  • 47 of the 100 largest church classify themselves as non-denominational. To be fair, some of them are still in the closet on their denominational affiliations.
  • The total number of sites for the 100 largest churches = 331.
  • Lakewood Church in Houston is America's largest with attendance of 43,500.
  • Second Baptist in Houston, America's 5th largest church, was founded in 1927.
  • #12, First Baptist in Hammond, Indiana, was founded in 1887.

From the fastest growing list:

  • LifeChurch.TV is the fastest growing church in America. They added 5,074 in attendance last year.
  • The state with the most fastest-growing churches: California also. Texas is second. Florida, Michigan, and Tennessee round out the top 5.
  • The church with the highest percentage attendance gain for the year was Experience Life in Lubbock Texas, which grew 186% last year.
  • An observation: While many of the fastest-growing churches in America are "newer," many are not. Some go back to the 1800's and early 1900s. I've heard a lot recently about how churches have life-cycles. Some suggest that after 40 years, a church's best days are behind it. I've never agreed with that…though I will say that churches tend to dry up and get irrelevant and inflexible after 40 years. But, it doesn't have to be that way. Congregational maturity can be a powerful thing as long as churches can reinvent themselves when needed.

You can read the article here. Ed Stetzer's blog also has some observations. I'd love to hear some of your thoughts as well.