Every year I spend a few days, with the help of our Research Department, studying what I call the “Fastest Growing Sunday School/Small Group Churches” of the Georgia Baptist Convention. I’ve been doing this for fifteen years and each year I learn something new. The reason that I continue the recognition of these churches is that we need to continually renew our efforts in making disciples through groups. It is also my prayer that these churches will be an encouragement to other churches and other leaders.
It does take several months to gather all the information from 3,600+ Georgia Baptist churches. This report is based on the statistics gathered in the Annual Church Profile (ACP) and now it is called the Annual Church Report (ACR). If you are a Sunday School Director, Small Group Director, Minister of Education and/or Pastor it is very important that you complete the ACR with accurate statistics. The report from your church helps all of us better understand the condition of all churches and thus develop better ministries and resources to aid our churches.
In order to be in the study a church had to turn in an ACP/ACR for 2013 and given to missions through the Cooperative Program. I looked at every churches percentage gain in SS/SG average attendance, net gain in SS/SG average attendance, percentage gain in SS/SG enrollment, net gain in SS/SG enrollment, percentage gain in worship average attendance, net gain in worship average attendance, and total baptisms from 2010 – 2013. I am looking for churches that reach new people, assimilate those they are reaching and are reproducing disciples.
Where the church is in the list of each of the above criteria will determine the number of points. For example, if the church is listed 12th on the percentage gain in SS/SG average attendance then the church would get 12 points. The church with the lowest overall point score will be ranked 1st in the “Fastest Growing” list.
There were some factors that disqualify a church from the list. If their SS/SG enrollment or attendance that did not increase at least one of the last three years the church would be disqualified. If their ACP/ACR stats appear to stray from realistic figures (such as attendance equal to enrollment or unrealistic variations in data) in 2010-2013 the church was disqualified.
I also placed every church in a size category based on their SS/SG average attendance from their 2013 ACP/ACR. Small = 50-100, Intermediate = 101-199, Medium = 200-399, Large = 400-699, and Mega = 700 or more.
Congratulations to these churches and keep up the good work. To all other churches, remember that your Sunday School and/or Small Group ministries is the best method to reach new people for Christ, the best way to grow people in Christ and the best tool to reproduce disciples that will make more disciples. To see the list of churches please see our new GBC magazine. Click her http://gbcpublications.org/missiongeorgiamag/14-july-sept/index.html and look at page 4.