SOUTH BARRINGTON, Ill., — For the second year in a row, Willow Creek Community Church as been rated the most influential church in the U.S. in a recent survey of more than 2,000 of the largest non-Catholic congregations in the nation. The survey, which was conducted by Church Growth Today, an organization in Bolivar, Mo., which provides consulting and research services for church growth and development, asked participants to recommend up to 10 churches they considered to be among the nation’s most influential. The final list is a report entitled, “50 Most Influential Churches.”
The churches that made the list are recommended by other church leaders as congregations that represent the passion and sense of mission mandated in the New Testament. The research further shows that these churches “do not all share the same view of all biblical doctrine, their recognition came from others, and they do not view themselves as better than other churches. Each just considers itself as a church wanting to be pleasing and useful to God and their understanding of His mandates to them.”
Also notable on this year’s list is that 29 of the 50 churches listed are member churches of the Willow Creek Association (WCA). The WCA is a growing multi-denominational worldwide network of more than 12,000 churches from 90 denominations and 35 countries that equips churches and church leaders with strategic vision, training, and resources. An independent study conducted in 2000 showed that WCA member churches exceeded the national norm in most vital areas of church life (conversions, growth, attendance, etc).
Earlier this year, Willow Creek’s senior pastor, Bill Hybels, was also included in a list of the “50 Most Influential Pastors in America,” published by The Church Report, a monthly business news magazine for Christian leaders that serves 40,000 from across the country.