A new list published in Outreach Magazine names Andy Stanley's North Point Ministries as the largest church in America. As exciting as this designation may be, Stanley is already focused on the next best thing, fostering the next generation of church leaders.
In an essay for Outreach Magazine, Stanley explained "One of my favorite quotes that sits on my shelf in my office is from Al Ries in a marketing book called Focus. He says, 'The next -generation product never comes from the previous generation.' His point is, whatever's next is going to be created by the next generation."
Stanley says he is on a hunt for future leaders. "Our job now is to continue to invest in the 30-something men and women who are the age we were when we started. We need to keep our ear to the ground, and we need to look at who's messing with the rules around the edges and invest in them."
Stanley first got his start as a young, culturally relevant minister from his father Atlanta televangelist Charles Stanley. Now his Alpharetta church boasts eight campuses which drew over 70,000 people Easter Sunday 2014.
Stanley recognizes that while he may have been the "it" preacher of his time, there's a time coming when he will have to pass the baton. "We should not create a model or a vision or an approach to ministry on the assumption that because we figured it out in the late '80s, we're going to figure it out in the 2000s." Referring to the old guard, Stanley said "We're done. We're here to facilitate the success of this generation."
Perry Noble's NewSpring Church followed North Point Ministries as the second largest church in America. Gateway Church in Southlake, Texas, Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama and Bill Hybels' Willow Creek Community Church all round out the top five largest churches in the United States.
Stanley, a regular speaker and contributor to the Catalyst movement and conferences, is scheduled to speak at the 3-day Catalyst Atlanta event which began today.