A Trip I’m Honored To Take

As you read this, Julie and I are headed to Jacksonville, Florida, for the second annual gathering of pastor of the 100 largest United Methodist Churches in the USA.

I posted about last year’s event here and here.

There are more than 35,000 United Methodist congregations in the U.S., so it is obviously a great honor that Good Shepherd is one of the top 100 in terms of average Sunday worship attendance. I’ll be surrounded by a lot of pastoral leaders who know what they are doing. And still others, like me, who have some measure of success in spite of themselves.

You might want to check some of the largest and most innovative churches in our denomination. Here are just a few:

Church Of The Resurrection, Leawood, Kansas. Started the same year as Good Shepherd, it hosts over 8,000 people per week in worship. The Jacksonville gathering is the brainchild of Adam Hamilton, Resurrection’s founding and lead pastor.

Granger Community Church, Granger, Indiana. We’ve learned so much from this highly innovative yet streamlined church in the Michiana area. They have influenced our approach to technology, media, small groups, and missions.

Faithbridge United Methodist Church, Houston, Texas. Started by a friend of mine from Asbury Seminary, this church averages about 3,000 people per weekend.

Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church, Tipp City, Ohio. Of all the churches represented, this one might be the most miraculous. In 1979, Michael Slaughter (also an Asbury grad) was sent to GUMC, a rural congregation with an average attendance of 90. Within six months, he had “grown” that to 60. Then the turnaround started. Thirty years later, with Slaughter still at the helm, they average close to 5,000 people per weekend. Known for “aggressive” music and a passionate commitment to missions, Ginghamsburg has been teaching other churches how to do it for many years.

I’ll let you know more about the gathering in the coming days.