Outreach magazine has published its yearly list of the fast growing and largest churches in the United States.
"Nationally, 1 in 4 unchurched adults has never regularly attended a Christian church," the report explains.
“They’re not attracted to the idea of church,” says executive pastor at Next Level Church in New England (No. 20 Fastest-Growing) Roman Archer. “So, we’ve got to go in and relationally build trust and show them we’re here to give back.
Every October, Outreach magazine and LifeWay Research publishes a report that summarizes the growth and sizes of Christian congregations across the country.
According to the list, among the 100 fastest growing churches, 42 are nondenominational, 20 are Southern Baptist, nine are Assemblies of God, and three are United Methodist.
Florida has 14 of the fastest growing churches, followed by Texas with 13, Georgia with nine, and Virginia with six.
Gateway Fellowship Church in San Antonio, Texas ranks first in the list of churches with the greatest percentage gain with 187 percent.
“Ultimately, though, The Outreach 100 is not so much about numbers as it is the individuals those numbers represent—people who have found hope in Christ and the churches pointing them to him,” the report says.
The report also outlines several unique challenges that megachurches face, but notes that the challenges “contain implications for churches of every size, from small to large.”
One of these challenges is the difficulty for larger churches to identify and intentionally engage with newcomers. One way megachurches can tackle this challenge is by offering a variety of opportunities for newcomers to participate in the life of the church.
“The way this typically happens is by being extremely intentional about creating ways for people to develop friendships, and to get connected in small groups, teams, classes or other highly relational settings. As a result, the healthiest megachurches grow bigger by intentionally getting “smaller,” says Warren Bird, a research director for Leadership Network and an editor at Outreach magazine, according to the report.
Some other challenges include having to prevail against stereotypes depicted by the media and navigating expansion through multi-sites.