The Largest 500 Churches in the SBC

Episode #173
November 10, 2015
Rainer on Leadership Podcast Logo

Podcast Episode #173

One of the most popular posts every year at is the annual listing of the largest churches in the Southern Baptist Convention. While we don’t typically talk about specific denominations here on the blog or podcast, today Micah Fries joins us to discuss the SBC 500—a new list of the largest 500 churches in the SBC—and what we can learn from them.

Some highlights from today’s episode include:

  • Megachurches are not only reaching people for Christ, but they are increasing in number as well.
  • Southern Baptists are becoming a more urban denomination because the American population is becoming more urban.
  • We are seeing an intentional push toward diversity in leadership reflected in the megachurches of the SBC.
  • Of the top 20 largest SBC churches, 20% are predominantly non-anglo churches.
  • The number of non-anglo churches in the SBC has increased by 66% over the past 15 years.
  • The average tenure for senior pastors in the top 20 largest churches in the SBC is just under 22 years.
  • Big churches are dependent on big population areas. You can be an effective church without being a big church.

The four main takeaways we found when analyzing the SBC 500 were:

  1. The South—and particularly Texas—is the epicenter of SBC megachurches.
  2. Non-Anglo churches and megachurches are on the rise in the SBC.
  3. Revitalization works have led to great growth among some traditional churches in the SBC.
  4. Pastoral tenure is vital for long-term significant church growth.

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