Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Influential churches

ChurchReport.com has posted its list of "America's 50 Most Influential Churches." I've linked to the Mars Hill Church, whose pastor, Mark Driscoll has appeared in a number of posts on this site. The leading churches:
Willow Creek Community Church (South Barrington, Ill.), Saddleback Church (Lake Forest, Calif.), North Point Community Church (Alpharetta, Ga.) and Fellowship Church (Grapevine, Texas) lead this years 50 Most Influential Churches list.

New to the top 10 churches are Granger Community Church (Granger, Ind.), Mars Hill Church (Seattle, Wash.) and Seacoast Church (Mt Pleasant, S.C.). All but Granger Community Church and The Potter’s House are multi-site churches.

Four of the top 10 churches are affiliated with denominations and six are non-affiliated. Lakewood Church and The Potter’s House are the only two of the 10 that are charismatic congregations. Two of the churches (Saddleback and Fellowship) are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. [the article]

8/11 Update: Note the comment which quotes a news article making pretty serious and credible allegations about the source of the list. I will not knowingly cite information from The Church Report again.



  1. Check out the source of this list:

    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

  2. Interesting, and certainly raising questions about Christy, of whom I know nothing. A quick search on Google finds a number of references to these allegations - and the full article [see links above] indicates that he has been successfully sued by a number of those who have alleged fraud.

    By the way, "Dad," is anonymous, and seems to have a blog with only one post. The information on this subject is credible because it comes from other sources.

  3. "Dad" is me, Gary McCullough. The "Dad" account was set up before this story broke. I agree with "Standfast" that the credibility of this article does not hinge on who I am -- but what is being reported.

    This article exposing Mr. Christy is already bearing fruit:

    1.) Mr. Christy's fake Impact America PAC is gone. It was taken down on August 10, 2007. It was at www.ImpactAmerica.net; an archive of the site is still available online at http://web.archive.org/web/20070429060409/http://www.impactamerica.net/

    2.) Potential and present advertisers have been warned that there is no print version of "The Church Report." Christy has removed the print advertising rates from his website. An archive of the print rate card is still available online at http://web.archive.org/web/20070811195731/http://www.thecronline.com/mediakit.pdf

    3.) Ministries that contributed editorial content have been notified that their good names were being used to give credibility to a scam.

    4.) Past errors are less likely to be repeated. It is highly unlikely that any ministry will appoint Jason Christy to a leadership position, or that he will be given a national platform to speak for people of faith.

    5.) Past victims of Mr. Christy's scams have a sense of justice. Those that have felt intimidated by Mr. Christy have some relief.

    6.) The chances of success for future fraudulent schemes by Jason Christy have been dramatically diminished.


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