An organization called Life Way Research has conducted a survey of 1002 Protestant ministers of all denominational persuasions–evangelical and mainline– asking them to list the ten “Protestant pastors” and “Protestant leaders” who have most influenced them.
Here is the list of the most influential Protestant pastors:
–Charles Swindoll, prominent pastor, author and host of the radio Bible-teaching ministry Insight for Living.
– Charles Stanley, senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Atlanta, and founder of In Touch Ministries.
– Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., and author of the best-selling book, “The Purpose-Driven Life.”
– John MacArthur, pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Calif., and president and featured teacher of the Grace to You ministry.
– Barbara Brown Taylor, religion teacher at Piedmont College in northeast Georgia and author of 12 books including “An Altar in the World.”
– David Jeremiah, founder of Turning Point Radio and Television Ministries and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in San Diego County, Calif.
– Max Lucado, minister of writing and preaching at the Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, and the recipient of three Christian Book of the Year awards.
– John Piper, pastor for preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and author of more than 30 books, including “Desiring God.”
– Andy Stanley, senior pastor of North Point Community Church, Buckhead Church, and Browns Bridge Community Church – all in the Atlanta area – and founder of North Point Ministries.
What is striking about this list is the fact that every pastor who made the top 10 is an evangelical. Where are the influential pastors from the Protestant mainline?
Chuck Swindoll was a surprise at #2. He was really hot among evangelicals in the 1980s but I have not heard much about him in a while. (Perhaps this says something more about me than it does Swindoll). Whatever the case, I like the fact that Swindoll–a guy who seldom appears as a talking head in the culture wars–was picked so high.
Here is the list of the most influential “Protestant leaders.”
10. Chuck Colson
This list is still dominated by evangelicals, but Desmond Tutu does sneak in at #5.