The Top Ten Most Influential Christian Preachers and Leaders

Lifeway Research just published the results of a survey of Protestant Senior Pastors. They asked them who the most influential living preachers were, and who the most influential living leaders were. The responses were weighted to reflect the geographical distribution of Protestant churches. These sorts of studies are helpful in seeing who is impacting the culture of ministry these days:

The results for most influential living preacher were as follows:

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The results for most influential living Christian leader were as follows:

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Surprises on the preacher list: I'm surprised David Jeremiah finished as high as he did. I might have expected to see Erwin McManus, T.D. Jakes, Mark Driscoll, or others on the list. Glad to see Barbara Brown Taylor on the list.

Surprises on the leader list: I thought Andy Stanley would be at least on the leader list. He's a marvelous teacher, but really makes his mark in leadership. I'm surprised Bill Hybels isn't higher on the list.

On the whole, it also seems like evangelicals dominate the rankings. Mainliners are scant. I also noticed that Demond Tutu is the only person of color on either list, and Barbara Brown Taylor is the only female.

What else do you notice? Did anything surprise you?

Dr. Tim Spivey is Lead Planter of New Vintage Church in San Diego, California. He is the author of numerous articles and one book, "Jesus: The Powerful Servant." A sought after speaker for events, Tim also serves as Adjunct Professor of Religion at Pepperdine University. Tim serves as a church consultant, and his writings are featured on, Church Executive magazine, Faith Village, Sermon Central, and Giving Rocket.

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7 thoughts on “The Top Ten Most Influential Christian Preachers and Leaders

  1. I’m sort of surprised that Will Willimon and Eugene Peterson since both of them have led from the position of author and scholar as well as from the pulpit. Also sort of surprised that Brian McLaren did not make either of the lists.
    Is there any page where they tell how they conducted their survey research. I am always sort of skeptical about surveys and in this case it would be nice to know how many respondants identify themselves as “Evangelical” vs. “Mainline”.
    Grace and peace,

  2. Oh, it would have helped if I would have read your post a little closer. I didn’t pick up on who were polled. Yep- no way the Penticostal guys or Joel would have made it.
    speaking of penticostals- saw where Benny Hinn’s wife filed for divorce. that should hit the fan- are we going to have another Jimmy Swaggart thing or is this going to be another Charles Stanley thing?

  3. Little surprised Joel O. isn’t up there (although I can’t bear him)- also, no real charsmatic guys- Hagan or Copeland or Robertson. And you’re right, not many mainliners- expected to see Hour of Power Schuler.
    (I probably butchered some names here) Also thought Franklin might ride his dad’s coattails.