Outreach 100: Behind the Numbers
Outreach special issue highlights America's Largest and Fastest-Growing Churches
The churches on this year’s Outreach 100 lists (both Largest and Fastest-Growing) are pursuing many of the same growth strategies and values, and face many of the same challenges, including the push for more effective leadership development; expansion through worship locations at multiple sites; a focused and intentional small groups emphasis; and a passion to serve their local communities.
To survey churches for this report, Outreach again partnered with LifeWay Research for the fifth consecutive year. Led by LifeWay Research President and Outreach columnist Ed Stetzer, researchers contacted more than 25,000 churches to gather the self-reported data used to compile the lists. The listings are based on February and March weekend attendance averages, not membership.
● The 2011 Largest list includes churches with attendance greater than 5,994.
● Combined attendance of Outreach 100 Largest Churches: 1,050,923.
● Due to their multisite strategies, the 100 Largest churches represent 328 worship sites.
● Texas has the most Largest churches with 17, followed by California with 15, Georgia (nine), Florida (six), and Illinois and Ohio with five each.
● Almost half (47) of the Largest churches identify themselves as “nondenominational.”
● Top 5 Churches on the Largest List
1. Lakewood Church, Houston, Texas, 43,500
2. North Point Community Church, Alpharetta, Ga., 27,429
3. Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, Ill., 24,377
4. Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Ky., 20,801
5. Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, Calif., 19,742
● The 2011 Fastest-Growing list includes churches with attendance greater than 1,000, a numerical gain of 249 or more, and a percentrage gain of at least 6.5 percent. Rankings for the Fastest-Growing Churches are determined by factoring both percentage growth and numerical gain.
● Combined attendance of Outreach 100 Fastest-Growing Churches: 638,693. These churches added 97,168 people over their combined previous year’s attendance, an average of more than 970 per church.
● The state with the most churches on the Fastest-Growing list (11) is Texas. California has nine, followed by Florida (eight), Arizona (seven) and Georgia (six).
● The 100 Fastest-Growing churches include 246 worship sites.
● Top 5 Churches on the Fastest-Growing List (Rankings factor both numerical and percentage gain.)
1. Richmond Outreach Center, Richmond, Va., +2,530 (83%)
2. Elevation Church, Charlotte, N.C., +2,744 (48%)
3. Real Life Church, Valencia, Calif., +1,763 (111%)
4. The Potter’s House of Denver, Denver, Colo., +1,800 (51%)
5. Christ’s Church of the Valley, Peoria, Ariz., +4,049 (29%)
Beyond the Numbers
The numbers only hint at the real story: lives and communities transformed. Accordingly, the Outreach 100 special issue presents a virtual tour of the Top 10 Fastest-Growing Churches and profiles of five others, plus the perspective of more than a dozen Outreach 100 pastors, who honestly share the valleys as well as the peaks in the landscape of ministry. The special issue also includes 100 church-tested outreach ideas, for any church, any size, and much more.
Vista, Calif.-based Outreach magazine offers the ideas, insights and stories of today’s outreach-oriented Bible-based churches. Founded in January 2003 by church communications company Outreach, Inc., Outreach is an award-winning, leading periodical for church leadership. It is available by subscription and individual copies are also available through Amazon.com.