Church Growth

The 100 Fastest Growing Churches in America

100 Fastest Growing Churches - Outreach Magazine 2015
100 Fastest Growing Churches - Outreach Magazine 2015

Outreach Magazine has released its 2015 list of the 100 Fastest Growing Churches in America.

The research, which was done by LifeWay, examines the increase in average attendance (adults and children) over the last twelve months. That's interesting, but from a movements perspective we'd like to know a few more details like:

  • What percentage of the growth represents newly baptized disciples?
  • Has any of the "fastest growing" churches planted new churches? Then let's count that as growth.
  • Do any of the churches have second, third or fourth generation new churches made up of new disciples? Why not count them?

There's nothing wrong with counting. The book of Acts counts. When Luke counts he is making a point about the unstoppable spread of the dynamic Word of God — the message of the gospel.

In Acts the Word spreads, grows and multiplies. And wherever the Word goes the fruit of its growth is new disciples and new churches.

In 33AD the church in Jerusalem topped the list of 100 fastest growing churches. Jerusalem stayed at the top for some years. But Jerusalem's greatest contribution became the missionaries — apostles and ordinary believers — who were thrust out by the Spirit to spread the gospel, make disciples and plant multiplying churches. Everywhere.

That's what should get our attention.

Related:

British churches grow smaller and larger

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Peter Brierley reports on trends in the size of British churches. Here are a few of the findings.

The average size of a church has dropped from 123 people in 1989 to 84 people in 2005. Take out Roman Catholic churches and the average size for Protestant churches has dropped from 87 in 1989 to 67 in 2005.

The largest churches, some five percent of all the 37,500 churches in England, are collectively responsible for almost one-third of churchgoers. Virtually all the 1,900 churches with more than 350 people in their congregation are either Catholic (1,350) or evangelical (460); the remaining seventy are considered broad or liberal.

There are 160 Anglican churches with average Sunday attendance over 350 people, about one percent of all Anglican churches. Yet in 2005, this one percent of churches attracted ten percent of the total Anglican attendance in the country!

The larger the church, the greater the likelihood that it was a growing church. The larger the church, the greater the proportion of non-white people attending. The larger the church, the greater the proportion of younger people in it

More than half of the smallest congregations are those aged sixty-five or over, whereas they are less than a quarter in congregations in excess of four hundred people.

Are the Southern Baptists headed south?

Here's a graph of the growth in Southern Baptist membership over the last 50 years. Pretty impressive when you compare it to the decline of the mainline Protestants.  Blog Edstetzer Lwci Research Chart Sbc Membership 1950-2006Small It's not all good news if you look at the percentages instead of the absolute numbers. It would be even worse if you factored in population increases since 1950.

 Blog Edstetzer Membershipgrowthtrendsmall

Hope Chapel, Hawaii: How do they do it?

Ralph Moore - Hope Chapel Founder

In 2001 Hope Chapel sent out one quarter of its congregation (350 people) to start two new churches. . . two weeks before moving into a new building. Since then, they've planted at least one new church a year by hiving off 100 to 150 people each time. One of the new churches is now about 600, with the smallest just over 100.

In the meantime one of Hope's daughter churches planted four more churches in Japan. Other daughter churches continue to plant, in Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, and New England. In New England the lineage goes seven generations deep and they've become a movement of their own with nearly 20 churches planted.

In Japan Hope Chapel has 19 church starts. Their goal is to see 100 in the next twelve years. They also believe the entire movement could reach 1000 churches by that time (currently 300).

How does Hope Chapel do it?

They look primarily among “minichurch leaders”— those who demonstrate fruitfulness in evangelism, discipleship, and multiplying leaders in a small group setting.

The leadership team prayerfully consider these people for church planting. Those who express an interest when approached are gathered into small groups for focused leadership development before being sent out to plant churches.

Source: Bob Logan, Be Fruitful and Multiply, 25-26.

Tell me, what is Hope Chapel doing that 99% of other flagship churches couldn't do? Maybe they're just got it easier than the rest of us. I mean anyone can plant churches in Japan!


“Starting a New Church: The Church Planter's Guide to Success” (Ralph Moore)

Hope Chapel, Hawaii: How do they do it?

Ralph Moore - Hope Chapel Founder

In 2001 Hope Chapel sent out one quarter of its congregation (350 people) to start two new churches. . . two weeks before moving into a new building. Since then, they've planted at least one new church a year by hiving off 100 to 150 people each time. One of the new churches is now about 600, with the smallest just over 100.

In the meantime one of Hope's daughter churches planted four more churches in Japan. Other daughter churches continue to plant, in Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, and New England. In New England the lineage goes seven generations deep and they've become a movement of their own with nearly 20 churches planted.

In Japan Hope Chapel has 19 church starts. Their goal is to see 100 in the next twelve years. They also believe the entire movement could reach 1000 churches by that time (currently 300).

How does Hope Chapel do it?

They look primarily among “minichurch leaders”— those who demonstrate fruitfulness in evangelism, discipleship, and multiplying leaders in a small group setting.

The leadership team prayerfully consider these people for church planting. Those who express an interest when approached are gathered into small groups for focused leadership development before being sent out to plant churches.

Source: Bob Logan, Be Fruitful and Multiply, 25-26.

Tell me, what is Hope Chapel doing that 99% of other flagship churches couldn't do? Maybe they're just got it easier than the rest of us. I mean anyone can plant churches in Japan!


“Starting a New Church: The Church Planter's Guide to Success” (Ralph Moore)

Church growth — highway to hell?

RickWarrenChurchMarketingSucks has a series examining church growth: Is Church Growth the Highway to Hell?

Here are their 9 Church Growth Myths. Eight of them from Rick Warren.

Myth #1: The only thing that large churches care about is attendance. Myth #2: All large churches grow at the expense of smaller churches. Myth #3: You must choose between quality and quantity in your church. Myth #4: You must compromise the message and the mission of the church in order to grow. Myth #5: If you are dedicated enough, your church will grow. Myth #6: There is one secret key to church growth. Myth #7: All God expects of us is faithfulness. Myth #8: You can't learn from large churches. Myth #9: Church growth is a corrupt industry.

 

Church growth — highway to hell?

RickWarrenChurchMarketingSucks has a series examining church growth: Is Church Growth the Highway to Hell?

Here are their 9 Church Growth Myths. Eight of them from Rick Warren.

Myth #1: The only thing that large churches care about is attendance. Myth #2: All large churches grow at the expense of smaller churches. Myth #3: You must choose between quality and quantity in your church. Myth #4: You must compromise the message and the mission of the church in order to grow. Myth #5: If you are dedicated enough, your church will grow. Myth #6: There is one secret key to church growth. Myth #7: All God expects of us is faithfulness. Myth #8: You can't learn from large churches. Myth #9: Church growth is a corrupt industry.