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ChurchWatch: Craig von Buseck

Join Craig von Buseck weekdays as he shares his perspective on the major trends and news affecting the Body of Christ today.


july 16, 2007

Church Report Poll: America's 50 Most Influential Churches

The Church Report has announced this year’s 50 Most Influential Churches in America. Each year The Church Report asks for input from pastors across the country who provide insight as to who is really influencing America's churches.

The 2007 survey was e-mailed to leaders of more than 2,000 of the largest non-Catholic congregations in the nation from April through 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.

This year the church voted most influencial is Willow Creek Church in South Barrington, IL, and pastored by Bill Hybels.  

This year’s list has several new churches and you also note movement of other churches through the list.

Willow Creek Community Church (South Barrington, Ill.), Saddleback Church Lake Forest, Calif.), North Point Community Church (Alpharetta, Ga.) and Fellowship Church (Grapevine, Texas) lead this years 50 Most Influential Churches list.

New to the top 10 churches are Granger Community Church (Granger, Ind.), Mars Hill Church (Seattle, Wash.) and Seacoast Church (Mt Pleasant, S.C.). All but Granger Community Church and The Potter’s House are multi-site churches.

Four of the top 10 churches are affiliated with denominations and six are non-affiliated. Lakewood Church and The Potter’s House are the only two of the 10 that are charismatic congregations. Two of the churches (Saddleback and Fellowship) are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Life Church is Evangelical Covenant and Granger Community Church is United Methodist.

Some are new churches and others date back to the late 1950s. Lakewood Church began in 1959 and is both the oldest of the five top congregations and largest in the nation. North Point was the youngest church in last year’s group and began in 1995 with about 1,200 people. Among the other three churches, Willow Creek is the second oldest and began in 1975 with a core of 75 people. Seattle’s Mars Hill Church, youngest of this year’s top ten list, began with 12 people in 1996, Granger began in 1986 with five people and Seacoast Church was launched with 65 people in 1989. Saddleback followed in 1980 with only Rick Warren and his wife Kay initially. Fellowship Church is the second youngest of the five and began in 1990 with 150 people. Each of these 10 churches now average more than 5,000 in weekend attendance.

Here is the list of the top 10 most influential churches in America, according to the Church Report poll:

1. Willow Creek Church
South Barrington, IL
Bill Hybels

2. Saddleback Church
Lake Forest, CA
Rick Warren

3. Fellowship Church
Grapevine, TX
Ed Young

4. North Point Church
Alpharetta, GA
Andy Stanley

5. Life Church
Edmond, OK
Craig Groeschel

6. Granger Community Church
Granger, IN
Mark Beeson

7. Lakewood Church
Houston, TX
Joel Osteen

8. Mars Hill Church
Seattle, WA
Mark Driscoll

9. The Potter's House
Dallas, TX
T.D. Jakes

10. Seacoast Church
Mt. Pleasant, SC
Greg Surratt

See the full list on

Tell us what you think: What are the most influential Churches in America?

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