Monday, January 28, 2013

The SBC's Nine Supermonstermega Churches

These would be the top as measured by average weekly attendance.

You say that such is not really the measure of a top church? Where did you get such a silly idea? Numbers are king in the SBC.

Here are the Top Nine, and the only churches in the SBC reporting attendance of five figures. This from Thom Ranier's recent blog on the subject:

CHURCH                                   CITY, STATE                        WEEKLY WORSHIP  
1. Second Baptist Church      Houston, TX                            25,221
2. Woodlands Church              The Woodlands, TX               18,322
3. Saddleback Valley CC         Lake Forest, CA                     18,000
4. Fellowship                             Grapevine, TX                       17,418
5. Prestonwood Bapt. Ch,        Plano, TX                               14,395
6. Thomas Road                        Lynchburg, VA                      13,500
7. NewSpring Church               Anderson, SC                        13,472
8. Potential, Fort Lauderdale  Fort Lauderdale, FL             12,513
9. The Village Church               Flower Mound, TX                10,000 

A few observations:

To call all of these SBC churches is a huge stretch.

OK, so Texas is the locus of supermegamonster churches with over half of the total and four of the top five. Big deal. They can have all of them. As an aside, Dallas First Baptist is not near this list (they come in at 85th in size, second largest in Dallas, and behind such churches as Lenexa Baptist (Kansas) and Sharon Baptist (Pennsylvania). Bet they will have the biggest fountain, though.

I doubt that you will hear much about SBC stuff at Thomas Road, that's Falwell, since they have plenty of their own fish to fry.

I can name the pastors of five of these churches and recognized the names of a couple of others but have never heard of a couple. 

All of these churches have sattelite sub-churches, which makes one wonder when the lead/head/big chief pastor will start using the title "bishop." Potential Church even lists sattelite campii in Peru. Perhaps their pastor will adopt "apostle."

It is a sign of our times that when one finds "Baptist" in one of these church's name or prominently displayed in their information, one is surprised. Several of these supermegamonsters are self-disclosed Baptist churches.

Woodlands Church describes itself as "non-denominational" but then you become a SBC church when you give a little money to the Cooperative Program or file a report.

The Village Church is explicitly elder-ruled, which raises an interesting question about which more later.

And, sure, I'm for whenever and however Christ is preached. 


Mark said...

I see my new church home made Rainer's list at 24, but did not make your list. Phew! :)

William Thornton said...

Your church is not up with the really big boys but ordinary megas will get my attention later.

JL Carver said...

Throughout the holiday season I was in about 5 SBC churches for worship services, special Christmas presentations, etc... In small churches, midsize ones, and the one megachurch that appears on the list, I heard no mention of Lottie Moon Christmas Offering or SBC international missions. They all seem to have their own missions endeavors to which they give an offering. As the parent of an IMB appointee, this concerns me greatly.