A New Vision, A New Voice ~ The North Texas Conference
Two North Texas Churches Make Fastest-Growth List
These churches rank in the top 25 in the U.S. for growth in attendance. Is one of them yours?
Two North Texas Conference churches have made the list of the 25 fastest-growing large United Methodist congregations in the U.S.
The Rev. Sung Chul Lee and his congregation at Korean Central UMC in Irving came in at No. 8 with 2,005 average attendance, and First UMC McKinney, led by the Rev. Tommy Brumett, ranked No. 11 with 1,443 attendance. The five-year growth rate was 39 percent for Korean Central and 37 percent for First McKinney.
Len Wilson, the church growth expert who compiled the list, analyzed churches with at least 1,000 in weekly worship in 2013, the most recent full year of average attendance records.
FIVE-YEAR TREND: “I elected to rank the churches on a five-year trend (my previous list was on a three-year trend), as a five-year trend offers a more precise indicator of sustained growth,” Wilson said. “While average worship attendance is an imperfect indicator, it remains one of the best we have to measure how we’re doing at telling the story of Jesus.”
TOP FACTORS: Tenure and innovative worship make the difference, Wilson found.
PASTOR’S TENURE: The average tenure of senior pastors at these churches is over 15 years, and 19 of the 25 have served their churches more than 10 years. The median and mode are both 17 years, “which means that if you account for four recent changes in leadership, the length of leadership of these fast-growing churches is even longer,” Wilson says. “Of course, a declining church can have a longtime leader as well, so this isn’t directly causal, but it demonstrates that one factor in growth is stability.”
Rev. Lee has led Korean Central since 1990; First McKinney’s Rev. Brummet has been in place since 2006 in an area seeing huge population growth.
CONTEMPORARY SERVICES: There is a bias toward innovation in worship, Wilson found. Ten of the 25 are entirely “contemporary” or “modern” in worship style, and 13 mix traditional and modern services. Two serve primarily Korean communities, with distinct worship styles that fit their constituency. None are entirely traditional in worship style.
BIG IN TEXAS: Twenty of the top 25 churches are in the Bible Belt, below the Mason-Dixon line. With six churches, Texas leads the list.
ABOUT WILSON: Wilson, who graduated from McMurry University in Abilene and was creative director at Trietsch Memorial UMC in Flower Mound in 2006-11, is a speaker and author of numerous books, including Think Like a 5 Year Old from Abingdon Press. While he was creative/media director on the team at Ginghamsburg UMC in Tipp City, Ohio, in 1995-2000, the church tripled weekend attendance to 3,000. Currently he is creative director at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, one of the largest in the denomination in the U.S.
FULL LIST: To see the full list and Wilson’s insights, click here.