Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Churches planting churches!

Last month, Pastor David Sobrepena, the founding pastor of Word of Hope in Manila, Philippines announced that they had planted another 15 new churches. In less than 20 years, Word of Hope has grown to more than 18,000 worshippers and its skilled teams have planted more than 1000 churches.

Here's more from their website:

"On August 21, 1988, a group of 17 dedicated servants of God led by Rev. David A. SobrepeƱa, marched around what to them was the walls of Jericho. The purpose: To heed God’s call for them to establish a new ministry. They circled the vacant Paramount Theater, claiming it for use in God’s kingdom. Located along historic EDSA just across one of Asia’s biggest shopping malls, the theater soon became home to Word of Hope Christian Fellowship – the ministry that God has impressed upon the heart of Pastor SobrepeƱa to lead to be a beacon of hope to people who are lost in spiritual darkness and in need of a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ."

"WORD OF HOPE officially opened its doors to the public on August 28, 1988, exactly one week after that fateful march, with 150 people in attendance. Shortly eight months after the inaugural service, the schedule of Sunday services was increased to three to accommodate the fast growing number of church attendees which have already reached a total of 900."

"Today, the congregation numbers over 18,000-strong church adherents who come from various strata of society in Metro Manila. This has been made possible through the cell group ministry which has become a vital part of the Church. Word of Hope has over 3,000 cell groups within the metropolis. The commitment and active involvement of cell leaders and hosts in the ministry has contributed to the immense numerical growth of the Church. Indeed Word of Hope has metamorphosed into what it is today – a mega church that reaches out to people from all walks of life who hunger and thirst for the Word of God."

AoG General Superintendent Focuses on Church Planting

New Pentecostal Head Stresses Vigorous Church Planting -

George O. Wood, who now heads one of the nation’s largest Pentecostal groups, is a by-product of church planting.

Sat, Oct. 13, 2007 Posted: 11:27:36 AM EST

George O. Wood, who now heads one of the nation’s largest Pentecostal groups, is a by-product of church planting.

Generations of Wood's family are believers largely because a 24-year-old minister felt a burden to a plant a church in Jeanette, Pa., nearly 100 years ago.

Back then, however, there weren't any resources or financial backing from churches or denominations like there are today for ministers freshly starting church plants. But when a young minister, Ben Mahan, still took the risk and began holding worship meetings on the streets of Jeanette and later established a church, Wood's grandmother and father accepted Christ.

"This is what church planting does," said Wood in a chapel service on Thursday at the Assemblies of God national headquarters in Springfield, Mo. "Not only was my dad saved but his family now. All of us children [are] serving the Lord and most all of our grandchildren and great grandchildren."

Moreover, there's a strong church today in northwest China with 15,000 believers – a church that Wood's parents helped establish.

"It all happened because somebody had a burden to go plant a church," said Wood.

"All across America there are people that are like my dad that if we can reach them, we'll not only reach them but everyone coming after them."

Wood was elected in August as general superintendent, succeeding Thomas E. Trask. He officially assumed his position on Monday. And now as head, he preaches a critical core value to the Pentecostals – "vigorously plant new churches."

"We know that planting new churches probably in our culture is the single most effective means of evangelizing a community," said Wood.

The Assemblies of God launched this year an aggressive church planting initiative called MX9 that aims to establish 1,000 new churches by 2009.

According to a biennial report (2005-2007) presented by Wood, Assemblies of God churches number 12,311 – the highest level on record with a net gain of 34. Overseas, membership has exploded with 95 percent of the 57 million Assemblies of God members outside the United States.

But Wood says it's not about numbers.

"The statistics are peripheral. They're not what's important. It's the lives of the people that we reach for Jesus," he said during chapel.

As the Pentecostal group still tries to double their current church planting rate in the coming years, Wood doesn't want to see church planting done the way his parents or other ministers decades ago had to do it, where there was no support or sometimes jealousy by neighboring ministers.

"We need to be a fellowship that is a giving fellowship, that is a supporting fellowship, that is an encouraging fellowship," he said. "We are meant to strengthen and encourage one another and be fellow workers in the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Audrey Barrick
Christian Post Reporter

Monday, October 15, 2007

Business Prof has Ideas for Improving Worship

A Dozen Ways to Improve Your Worship Service -Michael Zigarelli

For more than three decades I’ve been collecting data in churches, at least informally. I’ve attended churches of all kinds over the course of my life—Mainline, Evangelical, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic, you name it. Beyond that, through my current position, I’ve had the privilege of talking with countless pastors, church board members, worship leaders, and other fine folks about how to improve our worship services. As a result, I’ve come to believe that as good as worship is at many churches, there are at least a dozen things churches can do to make Sunday morning services more effective.

A quick caveat before I share these ideas, though: I offer them not as an expert in church growth or spiritual formation, and not as a rigid formula for worship, but simply as observations from someone trained to diagnose and solve organizational problems. Your church is likely doing some of these things; I think the best churches do almost all of them.

So with that said, how can we build on the fine work of our churches so people are even more likely to meet God and to be transformed through our worship services? Here are twelve ideas:

1. Give the Pastor More Time to Prepare

As a college dean, I manage people who teach. If I required them to do a whole bunch of administrative tasks for my school during the week and then expected them to deliver a brilliant lecture on a different topic every weekend, I (and their students) would be sorely disappointed by their performance in this weekend class. The professors who work for me would be burnt out and frustrated, their students would be under-educated, and my job would be in jeopardy. Worst of all, I suspect that God would be a bit displeased by our ministry of mediocrity.

But think about it: this is precisely what goes on in many churches. Our pastors are overwhelmed with administrative demands during the week that take them away from sermon preparation. Consequently, many of them squeeze in what time they can for prep, sometimes at the expense of their families and their health, to craft their Sunday message. And after they deliver the message, those of us in the pews smile and nod and thank them for a great word as we run out the door. But truth be told, we smiling saints could have learned a whole lot more from the message had the pastor been given another fifteen hours to invest in that message.

Then, the same thing happens the next week. And the next. And on and on it goes for years. Overworked pastors, under-taught Christians. It’s nothing short of scandalous.

Usually this scandal is not the pastor’s fault, but the system’s fault. To teach with excellence, people need lots of time to prepare. They need time to research their material, time to put it in an engaging format, time to make sure the points flow, and time to practice their delivery. And even more basic than that, any Christian who desires to teach well needs regular space for spiritual and professional development. There’s an inextricable link between learning and teaching: when we stop learning, our teaching suffers immeasurably. Or, as professor Howard Hendricks puts it in is book Teaching to Change Lives: “I would rather have my students drink from a running stream than a stagnant pool” (p. 18).

If we want life-changing messages on Sunday, step one may be to change the work system in our churches. Our pastors must be able to off-load many of their current administrative tasks so they can focus on teaching with excellence. Stated differently, we need to rewrite the job description of the pastor so he has space prepare well, to learn well, and to maintain a close and growing relationship with God. What we’ll get in return is more consistent access to the voice of God from the pulpit.

2. Don’t Let the Music Become a Concert

Sermons are critical. Praise music, though, is my favorite part of the service. It’s where I most predictably meet God. But increasingly, what I’m seeing in churches are praise bands singing songs that are inspirational and performed with excellence, but that are…well…“unsingable” by us rank amateurs. They’re popular tunes that are written for a talented lead vocalist, not for people whose range is a mere octave. So we in the pews are relegated to a spectator role, watching the good folks on stage praise God. They do a fantastic job and we acknowledge it by clapping when they’re done—but the applause is more for their fine performance than it is thanks to God.

When such things happen, the worship time has morphed into a concert—a substitute for a worship service.

“Special music” is another example of this. Some exceedingly capable person wows us with an instrument or a song or both, and we’re awestruck by his or her gifts. This continues for at least five minutes and then we offer a rousing ovation. But here again, it’s become a concert. It’s not corporate worship, it’s corporate watching.

One last example that evidences the problem: I’ve always wondered why praise bands play in front of the people rather than behind them or somewhere on the side. Doesn’t their being on stage frame their endeavor as a performance? Beyond that, it’s harder for people to focus on God when distracted by the worship leader’s facial expressions, the lead guitarist’s fancy fingering and the percussionist’s flashy cymbal crashes.

If it’s logistically possible, why not put the worship band behind the congregation—or at least somewhere off the stage—and show inspirational pictures or video or something else on stage that will direct our attention above? I recognize that this suggestion may not sit well with some worship leaders, but frankly, such protests often have their root in pride. Worship teams do such a wonderful job, and we all owe them our gratitude, but we need to have them step away from the spotlight so we can magnify God alone.

3. Avoid Interrupting the Flow of Worship

We’ve all been there. The music is awesome. The congregation’s voices are growing. Eyes are closed. Hands are raised. Fifteen, thirty, sometimes forty-five minutes go by in a flash because people are meeting God through the experience. It all comes to a crescendo with a closing prayer of thanksgiving and some people wiping away tears. The Spirit has been ushered into this place in a mighty way.

…but then abruptly, the Spirit’s asked to sit quietly in the corner for ten minutes so we can take care of some housekeeping.

Sometimes that housekeeping is a set of announcements that we could just as easily read in the weekly bulletin; sometimes it’s walking the kids to their Sunday school classes; sometimes it’s a church member making a pitch for more participation in a budding ministry. Whatever the reason for the hiatus, it completely torpedoes the moment. People’s hearts have been prepared to hear God’s Word and a powerful message. What they get instead are the logistics for the church picnic. Sit down, Spirit. We’ll call you when we need you again.

“Flow” matters in a worship service, so make it a priority. Plan it. Choreograph it. It’s much better to go from singing to the message than to insert non-worship intermissions.

4. Let Visitors Remain Anonymous

This one’s a complete no-brainer, but because of the “we’ve always done it this way” syndrome, churches continue to make this same mistake week after week.

Almost anyone visiting a church for the first time wants to remain anonymous. If they don’t, they’ll tell you afterwards. But believe me, the last thing new folks want is to “stand up so we can show you how much we appreciate you.” Even long-time members don’t want to stand while everyone else looks at them; how much less would a first-time visitor desire this?

Recognizing this problem, one church I attended asked first-time visitors to remain seated while everyone else stood to greet them. Nice try, but since being detected is the problem, this creative tactic didn’t help much.

Seeker-friendly churches let new people hide. Other churches inadvertently embarrass their visitors. Decision makers in these latter churches might do well to become a first-time visitor someplace else for a week and be reminded of how awkward it feels to be singled out.

5. Teach People How Scripture Applies to Daily Life

Last year, I had the great privilege of teaching at a ministry leader’s conference in Brazil. I taught on the topic of “being a faithful leader,” deriving much of my material straight from scripture. I was struck, though, by the number of pastors who commented to me after each talk that they had never heard the Bible used in such a way. “You speak of practical things using spiritual language” was one representative comment. This was a new idea for many of these leaders. To them, the Bible was about eschatology, period. It had little to say regarding day to day living.

That chagrined me as I thought about what their congregations were missing. But this is hardly only a Brazilian phenomenon. The same problem occurs around the world each weekend as pastors neglect the highly practical nature of God’s Word. For instance, when was the last time you heard a solid sermon about how to live your faith in the workplace? Or about principles for raising your kids? Or about how to resolve conflicts in a Biblically-consistent manner? Or about how to be more persuasive? The Bible speaks to all these areas, but many Christians simply don’t know it.

Great pulpit messages are great, in part, because they show how to apply scriptural lessons to our daily life. People are starving for it. If we begin to take practical theology seriously, we’ll be amazed how many people in the pews will begin to take serious notes.

6. Beware of Giving Destinations without Directions

This is a corollary to the previous suggestion. Pastors are remarkably good at identifying targets for us. Love God with all your heart. Listen for God’s voice. Demonstrate joy, peace, patience, kindness, and so on. Live out the Great Commission. Turn the other cheek. Love your neighbor as yourself.

They’re absolutely correct in all these things, of course. We should co-labor with God to pursue such ideals. But I’ve left countless services wondering just how I can make progress. What am I supposed to do? I’ve been treated to 45 minutes of destinations, but zero minutes of directions.

When pastors teach that we should be more patient (or joyful, or forgiving, or whatever), they should also teach how to become more patient (or joyful, or forgiving, or whatever). When instructing us to listen to God, they should also teach how to hear God in the first place. When encouraging believers to evangelize, they should share what works in persuading people to consider the claims of the gospel.

The best pastors recognize this issue and therefore seldom offer a “what to do” without a “how to do it.” They are highly practical in their teaching and continually sensitive to the question that’s on everyone’s mind: “You’re right pastor, but how do I get there?” As a result, their members walk out of each service with an action plan to make real progress that week and beyond.

This is no small issue. It’s futile to give people destinations without directions. It even borders on malpractice, since many people are demoralized by knowing how far they have to go without knowing how to get there. Just as we’d carefully spell out directions from A to B for a lost traveler, we should provide clear road maps for the many travelers making a pit stop in our pews.

7. Challenge People

Some churches go too far in this regard, but I think that’s a small minority. More likely, when you walk into a church today, you’ll find teachers unwilling to require much of their hearers. Perhaps they worry that if they present Christianity as difficult and present God as desiring us to change, people will reject their teaching. People will vote with their feet, or at least with their wallets, right? Not a pretty sight—so we preach cheap grace.

That’s a toxic assumption, and one that poisons many churches. Consider the demographics. Denominations that consistently challenge people to change are expanding, while those preaching low-cost Christianity are shrinking.

So challenge people to change. Challenge them to be introspective, to see themselves against the blazing benchmark of scripture, to become more sanctified, and to go out and change their little corner of the world for God’s kingdom. Show them that they’re on an adventure with God—an adventure that requires both courage and commitment.

That’s what Jesus did. He wasn’t a milquetoast guy, walking on eggshells so he wouldn’t offend people. He told it like it is and then said “go and sin no more.” He told it like it is and said “be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” He told it like it is and said “if they persecuted me, they’ll persecute you too.”

The call of God is both exciting and exacting. Indeed, churches that boldly speak the truth in love are growing, but more importantly, they’re growing real disciples.

8. Shorten the Sermon—and Focus It

Want to know the fastest way to depress a pastor? Have him ask people on Sunday night what points he made on Sunday morning. If you want to totally demoralize him, though, have him ask the question on Tuesday.

The sad reality is that in an era of information overload, we no longer remember the vast majority of what we hear—even the same day. We might remember the pastor’s tie and perhaps one of his jokes or stories, but the essential lessons are essentially gone.

Short of selling people a CD of the message and hoping they’ll listen again, what’s a pastor to do? How ‘bout this: leverage the principle that “less can be more.” Shorten the sermon. Make it 15 to 20 minutes. Twenty-five tops. A lot can be said in that time. I just read through the Sermon on the Mount—aloud and slowly—as part of my research for this article. It took fewer than twelve minutes.

“But I’ll have to cut out so much!” some will object. Exactly right. Nothing personal, but most of the time, that will be a good thing, not a bad thing from a pedagogical perspective. Rather than presenting three points or three steps, focus on one. Just one. And punch it repeatedly in the time allotted. Show it visually. Use humor to make the point. And especially, tell stories that illustrate it. That was Jesus’ approach to teaching—He told stories because people remember stories.

Pastors, consider this counsel from a speaker who’s learned this lesson the hard way. If you want people to remember what you teach, focus your message on one point and say it three times in an engaging way. Then sit down.

9. Eliminate the Prayer Speeches

…and consider praying the Lord’s Prayer once in awhile, as well. When Jesus taught how we should pray, He modeled a prayer that goes from zero to done in under 30 seconds. By contrast, lots our pulpit prayers are five to ten minutes long. Many prayers in our small groups and our Sunday schools are similar in length. Sometimes even our table prayers compel us to re-warm the gravy afterward.

One wonders whether we’re making the same mistake that some in Jesus’ day made—the mistake that caused Him to say: “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” (Matthew 6:7-8).

Talking to God is a good thing, and we all need to do more of it, but we’d do well to remember that, as Jesus said: “your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). Perhaps the better way in our worship services is for the pastor to pray briefly and earnestly, and then allow the rest of us to pray or meditate in silence for a time.

10. Separate Out the Kids

Out of the mouths of babes…come a remarkable number of distractions for their beleaguered parents, as well as for those around them in the pews. Have pity on these huddled masses. If you really want people transformed by worship, help them to remain focused by providing a place for their kids during the worship service.

Of course, many churches already do this, but I’ve attended some that still adhere to the convoluted position that kids need to develop the habit of sitting through services. Never mind that they don’t understand the concepts presented or the passages of scripture; being there is “good for them.”

That’s pure folly. In fact, it’s anti-discipleship. Holding kids hostage in an adult worship service is counter-productive and certainly not what Jesus would do. Instead, He’d provide a separate place for them so that their parents could worship properly, and so that the kids could be taught in age-appropriate ways.

11. Serve the Coffee and Donuts before the Service

Maybe some bagels, too. The better the spread, the more people will show up to partake and to fellowship. As an added benefit, they’ll be on time for worship, too.

Perhaps most importantly, though, their worship experience might be enhanced. Let’s face it, people don’t get as much out of their worship time when they’re distracted by hunger or fatigue. So some churches have sought a remedy by offering the caffeine and carbs on the front end of worship. Seems to makes sense.

Not convinced? Maybe your church is in a position to experiment with this. If you have a break between services, offer the food and beverages between the services only, and see whether you discern any differences between the first and second service.

I know, I know: it’s an uncontrolled experiment and you can’t know conclusively whether the timing of the food has any effect. But try the experiment anyway and see what you can learn. If nothing else, at least you’ll have less set up and clean up time!

12. Ask the Congregation How to Improve the Worship Service

When the most successful organizations in the world want to improve their products or services, they survey their customers. Many churches have benefited from doing the same.

I do understand that some people bristle at the thought of applying management tools to the church, but these are neutral tools, created by God to help us steward His organizations. So why not use them for His purposes? That’s how Saddleback started and prospered. Rick Warren and his team went door to door surveying people in the community about their feelings toward church and why they didn’t attend. Then, based on those data, they created something that taught the gospel in more engaging ways. Now they’re teaching tens of thousands every week.

So one last tip: if you want ideas for improving your worship services, consider asking the consumers of your worship services what they like and don’t like; what ideas they have for improvement; what would help them meet God more consistently in that place. You don’t need to adopt an idea just because you solicit one, but remember the words of God’s wisdom book: “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).

You have a congregation full of “advisors” ready and even eager to provide “counsel.” Have the humility to tap into their ideas and you’ll probably net at least another dozen ways to improve your worship service.

Michael Zigarelli, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Management at Charleston Southern University and the editor of the

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"Transformation" by Bob Roberts

I'll do a longer report for my DBA on this outstanding book, but I just finished reading it a few days ago and can't wait to recommend it. The book is called Transformation: How Glocal Churches Transform Lives and the World.

It tells the story of one local church pastor's journey through brokenness to the blessing of exponential ministry.

Back in 1985, Bob Roberts Jr. planted Northwood Church in Keller, Texas. Not content to be the biggest church in his city, Bob and his team committed to churching their city...and the world.

Since 1992, NorthWood's Church Multiplication Center has started almost 90 churches, including 8 in their daughter churches in their own immediate area. Their first church plant was 3 miles to the east of their campus and the second plant was 4 miles to the west. They now have clusters of churches in 19 cities throughout the United States. Sixty-two new churches were planted in the network in 2005 alone!

Here are a few of Bob's comments that impacted me:

"...we started implementing what it meant to church the area instead of pouring all our energies into becoming the biggest church in the area." (p.41)

"when will Jesus be enough for you?" (p.80)

"what if the church were the missionary?" (p.106)

"the question is not 'Have you been baptized, converted or joined a church?' The question is 'Have you been transformed?'" (p.117)

"I have no interest in helping start a church--it's a waste of time and money. I have much interest in starting church-starting churches." (p.139)

"You know a church is multiplying when it has as many or more 'granddaughter' churches than it has 'daughter' churches." (p. 146)

Bob is living a great story that will will inspire and challenge every pastor!

For more information, check out Bob's website, Glocal.Net

Monday, October 8, 2007

Birth Day in West Michigan!

The most exciting place in a hospital is the delivery room!

Sunday, October 7, 2007, marked the birth of two new Wesleyan churches in the West Michigan District!

Pastor Jim Bowen and his launch team welcomed 95 people to the first worship service of Belding – Encounter.

Yesterday was also the birthday for Caledonia – Journey Church. Pastor Jon Allen and his launch team welcomed 158 people to their grand opening worship service.

Our whole district team joins in this celebration! It marks the first time that any of our zone partnerships (Grand Rapids Zone) has launched 2 churches on the same day. It is also significant to note that this week marked the 29th anniversary of Kentwood Community Church’s launch. Journey is the most recent of KCC’s daughter churches and Encounter is also her granddaughter church as Lowell – Impact launched this second of their church plants.

Yesterday was also the first day for Portland – Epic to move into 2 services on Sunday morning. Pastor Ed Love reported that attendance hit a new record attendance of 180 on this their 1st anniversary!

Our vision as a district team is for every church to be healthy enough to help fulfill the Great Commission through planting at least one daughter church. With new churches Grand Haven – Watermark taking the lead to plant “The Deep” and Lowell – Impact taking the lead to plant Belding – Encounter, our vision is becoming more of a reality!

In other exciting news, Allendale Wesleyan Church welcomed Rev. Jim Maness, their new pastor, for his first Sunday. They are in the middle of an exciting campus relocation project after voting 98% to sell their existing property and transition into temporary facilities.

Yesterday was also an exciting day for Pastor Jose Pacheco and La Roca as they moved into facilities on the north side of Holland. The church hosted a community yard-sale on Saturday as an opportunity to get to know their new neighbors.

Last week began with a wonderful time of spiritual renewal as more than 30 of our district leaders gathered at Gull Lake for our first pastors’ prayer and fasting retreat. Rev. Rick Kavanaugh was used by God to minister the Word to our team and Micah Kephart was a blessing as he led us in worship. You'll want to check out Rick's teaching website.

Thank you for making a difference…

In the cause that counts!


Friday, October 5, 2007


That's the word from this article @ The Christian Post

With the number of megachurches in America growing at an increasingly rapid rate, the largest of them all now have a new label: "gigachurches."

Topping this year's largest churches in the country is Lakewood Church in Houston, with an attendance of 47,000, according to Outreach Magazine's annual 100 list of America's largest and fastest-growing churches. While Lakewood remains on top, 36 of the top 100 draw 10,000-plus people each week (gigachurches). The rest have a weekly attendance of 6,000-plus. Meanwhile, megachurches (2,000-plus attendees) now number an estimated 1,300.

While that's only 0.4 percent of all U.S. Protestant churches, megachurches are growing rapidly as they pioneer new approaches largely to engage the unchurched population. At a time when an estimated 70 percent to 80 percent of U.S. churches are either in plateau or decline, I am encouraged to discover a number of healthy congregations on the Outreach 100 lists that are bucking the negative tendencies prevalent in so many U.S. churches," said Dr. Ed Stetzer, director of research and missiologist in residence for LifeWay Research. Outreach partnered with Stetzer for the first time for this year's top 100 which was based on new methodology that factored in both numerical and percentage growth in attendees..

This year's fastest growing church is Hispanic megachurch Iglesia Cristiana Segardores de Vida in Hollywood, Fla. Within the last year alone, the church grew by 2,800 attendees and now claims almost 6,000. The 100 churches on the fastest-growing list grew four times faster than churches on the largest list. A key growth trend, or megatrend, is multi-site technology. Currently, seven of the top 10 fastest-growing churches are multi-site churches in which churches have set up extension sites on multiple campuses across the city, state or country. In 1990, there were only 10 multi-site Protestant churches in the United States.

Today, 25 percent of all megachurches have more than one site and 16 percent of all Protestant churches in the United States are seriously considering adding a site within the next two years, according to LifeWay Research. Stetzer doesn't consider multi-sites a trend anymore, but rather as "the new normal."


Top 10 Largest U.S. Churches

1. Lakewood Church, Houston Texas – Joel Osteen (47,000)
2. Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, Ill. – Bill Hybels (23,500)
3. Second Baptist Church, Houston – Ed Young Sr. (23,198)
4. Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, Calif. – Rick Warren (22,000)
5., Edmond, Okla. – Craig Groeschel (19,907)
6. Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Ky. – Dave Stone (18,013)
7. North Point Church, Alpharetta, Ga. – Andy Stanley (17,700)
8. Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va. – Jonathan Falwell (17.445)
9. Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – Bob Coy (17,000)
10. The Potter's House, Dallas – T.D. Jakes (17,000)

Top 10 Fastest-Growing U.S. Churches

1. Iglesia Cristiana Segadores de Vida, Hollywood, Fla. – Ruddy and Maria Gracia (3,050, 109 percent growth)
2. Calvary Community Church, Phoenix, Ariz. – Mark Martin (2,344, 26 percent growth)
3. Elevation Church, Charlotte, N.C., Steven Furtick (1,965, 444 percent growth)
4. New Life Church, Conway, Ark. – Rick Bezet (2,000, 108 percent growth)
5. Valley Bible Fellowship, Bakersfield, Calif. – Ron Vietti (3,600, 52 percent growth)
6. Fellowship Church, Grapevine, Texas – Ed Young Jr. (3,000, 30 percent growth).
7. Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, Va. – Jonathan Falwell (4,750, 37 percent growth)
8. The ROC (Richmond Outreach Center), Richmond, Va. – Geronimo Aguilar (2,100, 100 percent growth)
9. Redemption World Outreach Center, Greenville, S.C. – Ron and Hope Carpenter (2,000, 31 percent growth)
10. Champions Centre, Tacoma, Wash. – Kevin and Sheila Gerald (1,500, 30 percent growth)