America’s Most Innovative Churches…

Orginally published on Tuesday, December 26, 2006 at 8:55 AM
by Todd Rhoades

You may have already seen this list that released late last week. It is their finding of America's 25 most . I find lists like this interesting, and always enjoy reading them; but I wonder what you think... are these the churches you would have put on the list. Some, I would agree wholeheartedly on (like and ). Others (like and ) almost scream to be on the list just because of their past; but I wonder... are they really all that innovative anymore?

Take a look at the list here...

Don’t get me wrong… I love both Willow and Saddleback (and have a good amount of readers here from both churches); but every church has a natural cycle of innovation; and I wonder if some on the list made it on soley because people expect to see them there.  For those familiar with some of the churches on the list… what innovation have these churches shared recently?

Also, there are a couple of new churches on the list that I’m not familiar with… can anyone shed some light on places like The Sanctuary or Living Word?

What say you?!

This post has been viewed 1670 times so far.

  There are 6 Comments:

  • Posted by Leonard

    I think the list itself is fine.  I could not find the criteria for how this list was determined.  That would be helpful from a learning standpoint for me as well as I am sure many others.  Does anyone know the criteria list for how these churches were selected?

  • Posted by Greg Atkinson

    I, too, was surprised to see Saddleback and Willow Creek on the list. If the list was for church size or churches that have made an impact in the last 20 years, then I could understand it. I’ve said and blogged many times that I have a Top Innovative Church list that I keep in my head - neither Saddleback or Willow, which I both love, respect and appreciate, are on that list - again, if we’re looking for innovation in the last year.

    I thought their Top 7 was dead on. I personally would have bumped up The Journey in NY (Nelson Searcy) and Mars Hill Bible in MI (Rob Bell) in the Top 10 and would have moved down National Community in DC and New Hope Christian in Honolulu (both innovative churches) and should be in the Top 25. I just didn’t think they would fall in the Top 10, knocking out the 2 churches I mentioned.

    For the record, I was surprised that NewSpring Church (Perry Noble) in Anderson, SC didn’t make the list. You have a church of at most 800 (National Community Church), which is in a metropolis like Washington DC make the list, but not a church of 8000 (NewSpring), which is in ANDERSON, SC - they’re 30 minutes from a decent sized city, much less a metropolis.

    Either way, a list is simply a list. There are other churches that I know of that are extremely innovative that didn’t make this list. I don’t think we should put too much stock in stuff like this - simply get to know these churches and their leaders and keep an eye on them for ideas and influence (not to copy them, but to learn principles and get inspiration). The takeaway is that God is moving all over our great country in churches of all sizes, shapes and colors. To Him be the glory.

  • Posted by Jonathan K.

    I’m unfamiliar with The Sanctuary, but I am VERY familiar with Living Word, which is in Forest Park, Ill., another suburb of Chicago.  Pastor Bill Winston IS rather innovative, as his church bought out a run-down shopping mall, and renovated it, so now when people go there, they can patronize businesses that are operated by members of Pastor Winston’s church, “Living Word.”

    I also am aware that Pastor Winston has a program on Sunday nights on the nationally known “Daystar” TV network, and Pastor Winston has also appeared on “Believer’s Voice of Victory,” the daily broadcast TV show featuring Ken & Gloria Copeland, who are well known Christian leaders in the Word of Faith circle.

  • Posted by Jonathan Herron

    Greg -

    I totally echo your thoughts about NewSpring! 

    I know some of the guys on the panel who made the list and respect them tons, but it honestly struck me as weird that guys who were creating the official list also had their own churches on the list.  Also seemed slanted toward one church methodology.

    Oh well.  We’re humans and enjoy lists!

  • Posted by tony morgan

    Let me shed a little light on the process. I worked with Outreach to identify people for this panel that know innovation. We tried to get a diverse representation of leaders from throughout the country. Because of that, I’m not surprised that some of the people who are on the panel also happen to lead churches that were selected for this list. As an example, Ed Young Jr. has a lot to say about creativity in church leadership, so I wanted him on the panel. It would be hard not to include Fellowship Church on the list, though, just because Ed was one of the panelists. Just to be clear...we didn’t include any votes that panelists may or may not have made for their own churches.

    And, if you don’t like this year’s list, maybe you’ll like next year’s better. My intention is to partner with Outreach again and use an entirely new panel.

    Remember, the objective wasn’t so much to draw attention to these churches as it was to raise the level of awareness about the importance of innovation in the Church. I’m obviously a strong proponent of the need for churches to consider new methods for offering an unchanging message of hope, love and forgiveness found in Jesus Christ.


  • Good insight, Tony. Thanks for sharing

  • Page 1 of 1 pages

Post Your Comments:





Live Comment Preview:

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below: