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16Jul/07

Church Report’s Top 50 Churches

It's that time of year again. The Church Report has put out their list of 50 Most Influential Churches. Lakewood clocks in at #7 ... that's a few spots down from last year. No biggie there, but what struck me about this list is that I'm usually somewhat familiar with the top churches listed and have at least heard of most in the Top 10 or 20. But I've not heard of Mark Beeson's Granger Community Church before today. They ranked #14 last year and are currently listed one spot above Lakewood this year. I'm generally no fan of lists like these (yet I read/scour them anyway?), but one nice side effect of CR's list is that it's a good resource to find some nice church websites. In the case of Granger, I'm enjoying the video of last week's service. So far, the band rocks.
Here's the Top 10, plus the rest of the Texas entries. Last year's ranking in ().
1. Willow Creek Community Church - Bill Hybels (#1)
2. Saddleback - Rick Warren (#2)
3. Fellowship Church - Ed Young (#4)
4. North Point Church - Andy Stanley (#3)
5. Life Church - Craig Groeschel (#7)
6. Granger Community Church (#14)
7. Lakewood Church (#5)
8. Mars Hill Church - Mark Driscoll (#22)
9. The Potter's House - T.D. Jakes (#8)
10. Seacoast Church - Greg Surratt (#15)
Others from Texas ...
22. Prestonwood Baptist Church - Jack Graham (Returned)
24. Second Baptist Church - Ed Young (Returned)
42. Fellowship of the Woodlands - Kerry Shook (#41)
45. Oak Hills Church - Max Lucado (#46)
47. New Light Christian Center - Ira Hilliard (NEW!)
Two other Texas churches fell off the list from last year:
- Oak Cliff Bible Church - Anthony Evans (#44)
- Windsor Village Methodist - Kirbyjon Caldwell (#49)
It's only with the slightest of interest that I note the ones that slipped out, the churches that return to the list and those that are new. But among the more noteworthy entries is that #47. New Light Christian Center is probably the one TV service I tend to watch more than others. The services they film are from the old Lakewood Church facility. That certainly adds to the comfort level of watching, I suppose.

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  1. Jason Christy is setting up his annual scam once again. I actually thought I, and others, had convinced him to pack his bags and leave the Christian marketplace before his dishonesty became widely known. But I was clearly wrong as he has once again published his fake “Most Influential” list. A list used primarily to lure ministries into buying ads in his pretend “print magazine”
    The last few times the con went like this; Christy prints up a few hundred copies of “The Church Report.” He mails these few copies as if they are part of a much larger distribution. He hits up ministries featured in the magazine for ads in future issues.
    A few months after the ministry has spent thousands of dollars — the ministry will begin to ask for tear sheets or copies of the magazine they advertised in. At first Christy will claim they are “in the mail.” Next he will try to convert the ad sale to an electronic media buy for the online version of “The Church Report.”
    This “Top 50 List” it is a scam — there is no poll — no research.

  2. This list is bogus.
    Rising Evangelical Star Jason Christy Leaves Trail of Fraud, Associates Say
    By Hannah Elliott
    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Aug. 1 — ABP — When young, charismatic Christian publisher Jason Christy was tapped two years ago to lead the powerful Christian Coalition, the group’s leaders praised him for his ability “to inspire and encourage people of faith to action.” But Christy’s business dealings — both before and after his one-month affiliation with the Coalition — instead have inspired former customers and co-workers to file lawsuits charging Christy with defrauding their Christian businesses.
    Christy, 36, who apparently had no previous public-policy experience, persuaded the Christian Coalition in 2005 to place him in one of the most visible and powerful positions in evangelical life. But before the coalition’s leaders officially turned over the reins of their 1.2 million-member national lobbying group, they learned of a trail of legal and financial problems that has followed Christy from coast to coast.
    Former associates and customers of Christy’s many business ventures — mostly Christian magazines — say he cheated them out of money and threatened them. At least 10 of them have filed lawsuits, Associated Baptist Press has learned, and others have gotten court-issued restraining or protection orders against the Scottsdale, Ariz., businessman.
    Christy says all the allegations are false. He and his supporters say “enemies” are spreading lies about him because of soured business relationships. But critics say Christy is a scam artist preying on trusting Christians.
    Christy now publishes The Church Report, supposedly a conservative, national print magazine and web site. He has appeared as an analyst on CNN and spoken at megachurches like Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral. He hob-nobs with some of the evangelical elite and still has relationships with leaders in highly respected positions, like the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.
    This article is continued at Associated Baptist Press News: http://www.abpnews.com/2685.article
    Also at The Baptist Standard: http://www.baptiststandard.com/postnuke/index.php?module=htmlpages&func=display&pid=6646 and
    Christianity Today: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/augustweb-only/131-35.0.html


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