The Church Report is pleased to announce our list of The 50 Most Influential Christians in America. Thanks to the readers of the magazine as well as the online readers for contributing over 150,000 nominations. Each of the people on this list is most deserving of this recognition. As with all types of lists, there are those who are not on the list – not because they weren’t deserving – but simply because we did not have enough space to publish a list of the 100 most influential. The staff of The Church Report did not choose this list; rather, we feel that the nominations from Christians across America and around the world are much more meaningful.
The most influential Christian in America is Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House in Dallas, Texas. Bishop Jakes is most certainly qualified for this distinguished honor. In a recent conversation with Bishop Jakes he said: “I’m really honored and flabbergasted that I would be recognized in this way. I have really given my life to helping hurting people and just trying to be a support for people as they face different challenges.”
When asked about his past year, is was clear that Bishop Jakes has a mind for outreach and community. “My year has been incredibly busy. I spent time with over 3,000 families from Fort Hood who had just arrived back from Iraq; Megafest 2015 went on in Atlanta and we hosted over 100,000 people; and I will be very involved with the victims of Hurricane Katrina,” said Bishop Jakes. He also spoke enthusiastically about his partnership with Jack Graham, the pastor of Prestonwood Baptist in Dallas, who he partnered with to host an international day of prayer. He explained that “is a prayer movement that started in Africa and is sweeping the country and just to be a host with other pastors around the country was a great privilege!”
2016 figures to be another frenzied year for Bishop Jakes. “I know that we are building a 10 million dollar school, K-12, here in Dallas that we have been working on and hope to open up in 2016 and I am very happy about this. We have been working on this for some time, and education is important to rehabilitating any community,” he explained. Bishop Jakes’ commitment to his community is evident as he went on to say, “To teach young people to have goals that are attainable, we have to give them something to attain them with and education is a critical part of that; and that is why we have jumped on a couple of projects that are aggressive.” Bishop Jakes is also working on a 400-acre piece of land that the church has purchased with the intention of building a community of homes around the church and the school.
The Church Report congratulates Bishop Jakes and all of the nominees for Most Influential Christians in America.
Pastor Joel Osteen 2
Pastor Joel Osteen, a native Houstonian, has committed his life to serving and helping every person, regardless of background and economic status, achieve their fullest potential. Having started Lakewood’s television outreach ministry, Osteen worked side-byside with his father, founding pastor John Osteen for 17 years; and took Lakewood’s positive message of hope to over 100 million households throughout the United States and 100 countries worldwide.
3 BILLY GRAHAM
BILLY GRAHAM EVANGELISTIC ASSOCIATION
Evangelist Billy Graham has preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history — over 210 million people in more than 185 countries and territories. He has reached hundreds of millions more through television, video, film and Webcasts. Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) in 1950, which was headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., until relocating to Charlotte, N.C. in 2003.
4 DR. RICK WARREN
Lake Forest, Calif.
Dr. Rick Warren is the author of the New York Times #1 bestseller “The Purpose-Driven Life.” The book has sold over 19 million copies since October 2002, making it the bestselling hardback nonfiction book in history, which is said to have ignited a spiritual movement in countless communities around the world. Warren is also the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and best-known churches.
5 BILL HYBELS
WILLOW CREEK COMMUNITY CHURCH
South Barrington, Ill.
Bill Hybels is the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill. Willow Creek’s innovative ministries have made it one of the most-attended churches in North America. Hybels is also an author of several Christian books, especially on the subject of Christian leadership. His charismatic personality and sincere style have made Hybels one of the most popular faces of the modern evangelical movement.
Dr. Paul Crouch
6 PAUL CROUCH
TRINITY BROADCASTING NETWORK
Santa Ana, Calif.
Paul Crouch is an internationally recognized visionary in the field of Christian television. In 1973, along with his wife, Jan, he founded the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). Under his leadership, TBN has grown to become the largest group owner of broadcast stations in the world. Crouch has received numerous television broadcasting awards, including the Telly Award, the Golden Halo Award and numerous Silver Angel awards.
7 JOYCE MEYER
JOYCE MEYER MINISTRIES
Joyce Meyer is one of the world’s leading practical Bible teachers. Through her ministry, Meyer has taught on hundreds of subjects, authored over 70 books and conducts close to 20 conferences per year around the world. Her television and radio program is broadcast to most of the globe. In February 2005, she was selected by Time Magazine as one of the top 25 evangelical leaders in America.
President George Bush
8 GEORGE W. BUSH PRESIDENT
George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States. He was sworn into office Jan. 20, 2001; re-elected Nov. 2, 2004; and sworn in for a second term Jan. 20, 2005. Prior to his Presidency, President Bush served for six years as the 46th governor of Texas, where he earned a reputation for bipartisanship and as a compassionate conservative.
Dr. James Dobson
9 JAMES C. DOBSON, PH.D.
FOCUS ON THE FAMILY
Colorado Springs, Colo.
James C. Dobson, Ph.D., bestselling author and recognized advocate for the family, is founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, a nonprofit organization that produces his internationally syndicated radio programs that are heard in 25 languages on over 8,300 radio facilities in 164 countries.
Chuck Colson 10 CHUCK COLSON
PRISON FELLOWSHIP MINISTRIES
Imprisoned during the Watergate scandal, Chuck Colson is founder and head of Prison Fellowship Ministries in Lansdowne, Va., the world’s largest outreach to prisoners, exprisoners, crime victims and their families. Colson is also an author and host of “BreakPoint,” a syndicated national radio show.
Luis Palau 11 LUIS PALAU
THE PALAU ASSOCIATION
Luis Palau has shared the Good News face-to-face with tens of millions. He has authored close to 50 books, and his radio broadcasts are broadcast internationally. His “Great music! Good News!” festivals have drawn record crowds. The Palau Association also includes the Next Generation Alliance, which nurtures and supports evangelists around the world; and PalauFest Productions, which creates outreach films and tools for young people and youth ministries.
William Graham 12 WILLIAM FRANKLIN GRAHAM, III
William Franklin Graham, III, is the son of evangelist Billy Graham and his wife, Ruth Bell Graham. He is president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization providing relief and assistance in more than 100 countries. He conducts festivals around the world as an evangelist for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). He was appointed CEO of the organization in 2000 and president of BGEA in 2001.
Andy Stanley 13 ANDY STANLEY
NORTH POINT MINISTRIES
Multiple Locations, Georgia
Andy Stanley is the founder of North Point Ministries and senior pastor of North Point Community Church, Buckhead Church and Browns Bridge Community Church. Each Sunday, over 15,000 adults attend worship services at one of these NPM campuses. Stanley is the author of multiple books. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary.
Anne Graham Lotz 14 ANNE GRAHAM LOTZ
Anne Graham Lotz, founder of AnGeL Ministries, has proclaimed God’s Word to people around the world for over 28 years. The daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Billy Graham, Lotz launched Just Give Me Jesus, a series of lifechanging revivals throughout the world, in the year 2000. Lotz is an award winning and best selling author of seven books and multiple Bible studies.
Joni Eareckson Tada 15 JONI EARECKSON TADA
JONI AND FRIENDS
Agoura Hills, Calif.
Joni Eareckson Tada founded Joni and Friends, an organization accelerating Christian ministry in the disability community, in 1979, after a diving accident left her a quadriplegic in a wheelchair. Joni and Friends communicates the gospel and equips Christhonoring churches worldwide to evangelize and disciple people affected by disability. She served on the National Council on Disability for three-and-a-half years, during which time the Americans with Disabilities Act became law.
Chuck Swindoll 16 CHUCK SWINDOLL
INSIGHT FOR LIVING
Insight for Living’s Bible teacher, Chuck Swindoll, currently leads Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas; but his listening audience extends far beyond a local church body. As a leading program in Christian broadcasting, “Insight for Living” airs in major Christian and non-Christian radio markets and is broadcast via the Web. He is also chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary.
Max Lucado 17 MAX LUCADO
San Antonio, Texas
Max Lucado came to Oak Hills Church of Christ in San Antonio, Texas, after years of church planting in Brazil. In addition to his role as senior minister at Oak Hills, Lucado is now one of the most-recognized inspirational authors in the United States, second only to Billy Graham. Lucado’s books are regular fixtures on national bestseller lists including The New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly and the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA).
Bishop Eddie L. Long 18 BISHOP EDDIE L. LONG
NEW BIRTH MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH
Bishop Eddie L. Long is God’s visionary for New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, which has grown from 300 in 1987 to 25,000 today. Through community- empowering projects, Bishop Long continues to equip people in economics, leadership and business. Bishop Long has close relationships with key leaders in the religious, political and entertainment arenas; consequently, he is advancing the Kingdom of God in a whole new way.
Dr. Robert H. Schuller 19 DR. ROBERT H. SCHULLER
Garden Grove, Calif.
Longtime pastor and bestselling author Dr. Robert H. Schuller is perhaps best known as minister of the famed Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif.; and host of the televised “Hour of Power.” Dr. Schuller is the author of more than 30 books, including five that have appeared on The New York Times bestseller list. Dr. Schuller has received numerous awards including the Horatio Alger Award and Clergyman of the Year.
Dr. George Barna 20 DR. GEORGE BARNA
THE BARNA GROUP
Dr. George Barna is an author, pastor and the founder of The Barna Group in Ventura, Calif., a firm specializing in conducting research for Christian ministries and nonprofits. The Barna Research division has conducted research for various denominations and numerous parachurch organizations including the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, World Vision, American Bible Society, Campus Crusade for Christ and Trinity Broadcasting Network.
Dr. Jack Hayford 21 DR. JACK W. HAYFORD
THE KING’S COLLEGE AND SEMINARY
Van Nuys, Calif.
Dr. Jack W. Hayford is the chancellor of The King’s College and Seminary. He is also the founding pastor of The Church On The Way (TCOTW), the First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys, Calif., which began as a “temporary” assignment to shepherd 18 people and continued fruitfully as the congregation surpassed 10,000. A scholar and teacher, Dr. Hayford mentors other leaders and is recognized as a “pastor to pastors.”
Dr. Charles Stanley 22 DR. CHARLES F. STANLEY
IN TOUCH MINISTRIES
Dr. Charles F. Stanley is senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta and founder of In Touch Ministries. The “In Touch” program can be heard in every nation via radio, shortwave or television broadcasts. In 1988, Dr. Stanley was inducted into the National Religious Broadcaster’s (NRB) Hall of Fame. Dr. Stanley has also served two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Jay Sekulow 23 JAY ALAN SEKULOW
AMERICAN CENTER FOR LAW AND JUSTICE
Jay Alan Sekulow is chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a law firm and educational organization that specializes in constitutional law. He is also chief counsel of the European Center for Law and Justice (ECLJ). An accomplished and respected judicial advocate, Sekulow has presented oral argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in numerous cases in defense of constitutional freedoms.
John Piper 24 JOHN PIPER
BETHLEHEM BAPTIST CHURCH
John Piper is the pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minn. Piper is the author of more than 20 books and his preaching and teaching is featured on the daily radio program “Desiring God.” He and his wife Noël have four sons, one daughter and four grandchildren.
Rob Bell 25 ROB BELL
MARS HILL BIBLE CHURCH
Rob Bell is the founding pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church, located in Grandville, Mich. He is featured in the first series of spiritual short films called NOOMA and recently completed his first book “Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith.” Bell and his wife, Kristen, have two boys and live in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Tommy Barnett 26 TOMMY BARNETT
PHOENIX FIRST ASSEMBLY OF GOD
Tommy Barnett is the senior pastor of Phoenix First Assembly of God in Phoenix, Ariz., one of the fastest-growing churches in America; and the founding pastor of the Los Angeles Dream Center. Barnett is widely seen on the Trinity Broadcasting Network program, “Praise the Lord” and has appeared on “The 700 Club.” He produces a weekly documentary program with his son from the L.A. Dream Center, aired on TBN.
John C. Maxwell 27 JOHN C. MAXWELL
John C. Maxwell is the founder of EQUIP, a nonprofit training over a million Christian leaders worldwide; and INJOY Stewardship Services, which is helping churches raise billions of dollars. As chairman of Global Pastor’s Network, Maxwell speaks to hundreds of thousands of people each year and has sold over 9 million books.
Jim Towey 28 JIM TOWEY
OFFICE OF FAITHBASED INITIATIVES
Jim Towey is assistant to the President, and director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Previously, he founded and ran Aging with Dignity. Towey was also involved with Mother Teresa of Calcutta. He served as her legal counsel for 12 years and in 1990 lived as a full-time volunteer in her home for people with AIDS in Washington, D.C.
Paul Crouch Jr. 29 PAUL CROUCH JR.
TRINITY BROADCASTING NETWORK
Santa Ana, Calif.
Paul Crouch Jr. is vice president of administration for Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), America’s mostwatched faith channel and the world’s largest religious television network. TBN reaches every major continent via 46 satellites and over 12,000 television and cable affiliates worldwide. Crouch has received numerous awards including the Telly Award, the Golden Halo Award and numerous Silver Angel awards.
Benny Hinn 30 BENNY HINN
BENNY HINN MINISTRIES
Benny Hinn is a noted teacher, healing evangelist and bestselling author (“Good Morning, Holy Spirit,” “Lamb of God”). His television program, “This Is Your Day!” broadcasts daily to over 190 counties. Millions attend his crusades each year throughout the world.
Dr. John C. Hagee 31 DR. JOHN C. HAGEE
San Antonio, Texas
Dr. John C. Hagee is the founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, a nondenominational evangelical church with more than 18,000 active members. Hagee is the president and CEO of Global Evangelism Television, which telecasts his radio and television ministry. Hagee has received numerous honors and accolades from national Jewish organizations for his unwavering support of Israel.
Leonard Sweet 32 LEONARD SWEET
DREW THEOLOGICAL SCHOOL
Currently the E. Stanley Jones professor of evangelism at Drew Theological School (Madison, N.J.), and visiting distinguished professor at George Fox University, (Portland, Oregon), Leonard Sweet is the author of more than 100 articles, 600 published sermons and 27 books. Founder and president of SpiritVenture Ministries, Sweet is a frequent speaker at conferences in the United States and around the globe.
Ted Haggard 33 TED HAGGARD
NEW LIFE CHURCH
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Ted Haggard is the president of the 30-million-member National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), the largest evangelical group in America. He is also founder and senior pastor of the 11,000-member New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colo. He formed and serves as the president of both the Association of Life-Giving Churches, a network of local churches; and worldprayerteam.org, the only real-time global prayer network.
Marcus Lamb 34 MARCUS LAMB
In 1997, Marcus began the Daystar Television Network, which owns and operates TV stations across the nation. Daystar is now the secondlargest Christian Television Network in the world. Marcus and his wife, Joni, host a daily TV program called “Celebration” that is broadcast live via satellite across the nation and around the world. They minister at various churches around the nation.
Dr. James Kennedy 35 DR. JAMES KENNEDY, PH.D.
CORAL RIDGE MINISTRIES
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Dr. James Kennedy, Ph.D., is senior minister of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and president of Coral Ridge Ministries. The author of more than 65 books, he is also founder and president of Evangelism Explosion and chancellor of Knox Theological Seminary. Dr. Kennedy is the most-listened-to Presbyterian minister in the world today.
Dr. Creflo Dollar 36 DR. CREFLO A. DOLLAR
WORLD CHANGERS INTERNATIONAL
College Park, Ga.
Dr. Creflo A. Dollar is the founder of World Changers Ministries (WCM), a global organization.
His goal is to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to people of every color and culture, changing the world one person at a time. The award-winning “Changing Your World” television broadcast, which began in 1990, now reaches an audience of almost 1 billion people daily around the world.
Paula White 37 PAULA WHITE
PAULA WHITE MINISTRIES
Through the power of media, Paula White, supervising producer and host of “Paula White Today,” has ministered, enlightened and uplifted millions of viewers around the world. White’s life was forever changed when at the age of 18 she first heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. Heralded as the “midwife to dreams,” White inspires people to step boldly into the divine destiny that God has planned for them.
Rod Parsley 38 ROD PARSLEY
WORLD HARVEST CHURCH
Rod Parsley is pastor of World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio, a megachurch with more than 12,000 in attendance weekly. He is also a highly sought-after crusade and conference speaker. Parsley hosts “Breakthrough,” a daily and weekly television broadcast seen by millions across America and around the world. He also oversees World Harvest Academy, World Harvest Bible College and Bridge of Hope Missions and Outreach.
Bishop Harry Jackson 39 BISHOP HARRY R. JACKSON JR.
HOPE CHRISTIAN CHURCH
College Park, Md.
Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr. is chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, a nonprofit organization leading the charge to educate the nation regarding the importance of biblical and moral value issues for all. He is also senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in College Park, Md., a suburb of our nation’s capital. He has a vital teaching ministry via radio and television both in the United States and abroad.
Sean Hannity 40 SEAN HANNITY
HANNITY & COLMES
Sean Hannity joined the FOX News Channel (FNC) in September 1996 as co-host of “Hannity & Colmes” (Monday-Friday, 9-10 p.m. EST), a prime-time, one-hour, debate-driven talk show focusing on the controversial issues and newsmakers of the day. He serves as the program’s conservative counterpart to liberal Alan Colmes. He is also currently the host of WABCAM’s highly rated afternoon talk program, “The Sean Hannity Show.”
Dr. Bruce Wilkinson 41 DR. BRUCE H. WILKINSON
GLOBAL VISION RESOURCES
Dr. Bruce H. Wilkinson is the founder and president of Global Vision Resources (2002), a film and video teaching ministry with global distribution. He was the former president of Walk Thru the Bible Ministries (1976), a global, trans-denominational Christian organization headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. In 1998, he founded WorldTeach, which is a global initiative to develop a Bible teacher for every 50,000 people in every nation of the world.
Brian McLaren 42 BRIAN MCLAREN
CEDAR RIDGE COMMUNITY CHURCH
Brian McLaren, called “paradigm shifter” by Time Magazine in its list of “25 Most Influential Evangelicals,” is a senior fellow in Emergent (www.emergentvillage.com), an organization dedicated to developing new approaches to Christian theology and community. He is founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church (www.crcc.org) in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area.
Erwin McManus 43 ERWIN MCMANUS
Los Angeles, Calif.
McManus serves as cultural architect of Mosaic in Los Angeles, Calif, which has emerged as a spiritual reference point for the future church. As founder of Global Impact, McManus is recognized as a national and international speaker engaging such issues as globalization, leadership, cultural transformation, post-modernism and church growth. He partners with Bethel Seminary as a distinguished lecturer and futurist and is also a contributing editor for Leadership Journal.
Pope Benedict XVI 44 POPE BENEDICT XVI
ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Pope Benedict XVI, previously Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and successor to Pope John Paul II, is the 265th reigning pope; and the head of the Roman Catholic Church. He was elected to the position in a papal conclave April 19, 2005. He presided over the conclave in his role as dean of the College of Cardinals. His views on issues such as artificial birth control, abortion and homosexuality are conservative, maintaining the traditional Catholic doctrines.
Beth Moore 45 BETH MOORE
LIVING PROOF MINISTRIES
Beth Moore founded Living Proof Ministries in 1994 to teach women how to live on God’s Word. Her books and Bible studies have been read by women of all ages, races and denominations. She conducts Living Proof Live conferences and a radio ministry, “Living Proof with Beth Moore.”
Rick Santorum 46 RICK SANTORUM
REPUBLICAN CONFERENCE CHAIRMAN
U.S. Senator, Pennsylvania
Rick Santorum has served in the U.S. Senate since January 1995. During that time, he has served Pennsylvanians either through his accomplishments in the U.S. Senate or as Republican conference chairman. Santorum has been elected to a third term as Republican conference chairman by his Republican colleagues. As conference chairman, Senator Santorum directs the communications operations of Senate Republicans and is a frequent party spokesman.
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop of Washington 47 CARDINAL THEODORE MCCARRICK, PH.D.
ARCHBISHOP OF WASHINGTON
In April 2005, Cardinal McCarrick was one of 115 cardinals in the world who participated in the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI as the successor to Pope John Paul II. He is a founding member of the Papal Foundation and has served as its president since 1997. He is chancellor of The Catholic University of America. For the Vatican, he serves on several Pontifical Councils and Pontifical Commissions.
Dr. John N. Vaughan 48 DR. JOHN VAUGHAN
CHURCH GROWTH TODAY
Dr. John Vaughan is the founding editor and past president of the American Society for Church Growth. In 1980, he founded Church Growth Today, a research consulting office specializing in U.S. and global rapid- growth churches and megachurches (2,000-plus attendance). For 25 years, he has served as a consultant and information resource for the nation’s largest and fastest-growing churches, as well as smaller churches, denominations and parachurch organizations.
Frank Sommerville, JD, CPA 49 FRANK SOMMERVILLE
WEYCER, KAPLAN, PULASKI & ZUBER, P.C.
Frank Sommerville is a shareholder in the law firm of Weycer, Kaplan, Pulaski & Zuber, P.C. in Dallas, Texas. He has served nonprofit organizations as an accountant, auditor, tax adviser and legal adviser. His experience includes representing clergy, churches and nonprofit organizations at all levels of IRS tax controversy (from examination to courtroom) across America. He is one of the few nonprofit attorneys who actively litigates nonprofit cases in the courtroom.
Dr. Phil McGraw 50 DR. PHIL MCGRAW
Host of the ‘Dr. Phil’ show
Dr. Phil McGraw has galvanized millions of people to “get real” about their own behavior and create more positive lives. His nationally syndicated, daily one-hour series “Dr. Phil” has been breaking records since its September 2002 launch, when it garnered the highest ratings of any new syndicated show since the launch of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” He is also the author of five number-one New York Times bestsellers.