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'Service' Categories

The Largest Churches in America

In 2007 Outreach magazine released their annual list of the 100 Largest Churches in America: 

  • The largest church was Lakewood Church in Houston. Pastor Joel Osteen's church averaged 47,000 attendees per Sunday. That's larger than some cities! 
  • The 2nd largest church was Willow Creek in the Chicago area, pastored by Bill Hybels, with an average attendance of 23,500—half that of Lakewood. 
  • There were 2 other churches with attendance over 20,000: Second Baptist in Houston, and Saddleback in California.  
  • The "smallest" church on the list was Shadow Mountain Community Church in California, pastored by David Jeremiah, with a weekly attendance of 6,376. The thing about a list like that: It can really make you feel insignificant! If you're the pastor of a small church, or attend one.  Should we feel that way? No. In the first place, the list can be misleading if it's our sole gauge of church life in America. The total attendance of all the 100 largest churches was just over 1 million people, but more than 100 million people attend church every week in America, and that's a conservative estimate*. For another thing, the average attendance of most churches in America per Sunday is estimated at less than 100.  However, the main reason we should not feel insignificant is because we're not! Jesus said, "And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward" (Matthew 10:42). God notices and rewards every act of service in His name, big or small. That's true for every church, and for everyone in every church.

    References: “2007 Outreach Magazine Report: 100 Largest U.S. Churches,” Outreach magazine Special issue (2007), pp. 52-53; Doug Carroll, “Megachurch opens campus on field of dreams in Gilbert,” The Arizona Republic (10/6/07)

  • A Life of Impact

    Have you heard of Elizabeth Anne Everest? Probably not. She was a nanny.  

    An upper class English family was looking for a nanny to take care of a boy whom his mother called "a difficult child to manage" a... [Read More]

    Reference: Rick Joyner, Shadows of Things to Come (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001), pp. 154-157

    Post Office Angel

    In 2001 Anita Rybat, a woman in her 70s, entered a Phoenix post office burdened with Christmas gifts to mail and her oxygen tank. The lobby was wall-to-wall people, every chair was taken, and—worst of all—she drew #60... [Read More]

    Reference: Arizona Republic, 12/26/01 

    Servants?

    A man dreamed that he had been given a chance to visit Heaven and Hell. 

    When he opened the door to Hell, he was surprised to see a banquet hall set for a feast. On the table were mouthwatering dishes of food, but t... [Read More]

    Humble Beginnings

    There was a country-bumpkin who applied for a sales job at a store in upstate New York (in 1873). He looked like anything but a potential salesman to the owner, who knew 20 other more experienced candidates would soon... [Read More]

    Reference: Thomas Sowell, Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One (Basic Books, 2004), pp. 35-37

    J.C. Penney
    J.C. Penney’s first job was as a clerk in a general store for $2.27 per month! He went on to found one of the largest department store chains in the U.S.—at the time of his death in 1971 at the age of 95, his comp... [Read More]

    Reference: The Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 9, 2002, “Penny, J.C.” and “Penny Company,” p. 262

    Henry Ford

    Henry Ford dropped out of school at the age of 15. He walked from his family’s farm in Dearborn, Michigan, to Detroit, and found work in a machine shop. He would eventually revolutionize the world with his mass-produc... [Read More]

    Reference: The Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 19, 2002, "Henry Ford," pp. 407-409; The Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 4, 2002, "Henry Ford," p. 876

    Charles Walgreen

    The Walgreen Co. is the largest drugstore chain in the U.S., operating nearly 7,500 stores. It all started with one store in Chicago.

    It all started with one store in Chicago in 1901, when Charles Walgreen saved ... [Read More]

    Reference: Marilyn Much, "Charles Walgreen Delivered The Goods With Kind Regard", Investor’s Business Daily (4/27/10)

    Around the World

    If I were to ask you, “Who was the first person to circumnavigate the globe?” you might answer with the name of one of the great explorers—Magellan, da Gama, Cook, etc.

    You might be surprised to find that t... [Read More]

    Reference: Samuel Eliot Morison, The Oxford History of the American People (Oxford University Press, 1965), p. 32