Pastors Changing the Faith
- Rick Warren: Saddleback Church
- Greg Laurie: Harvest Christian Fellowship
- Dr. David Jeremiah: Shadow Mountain Community Church
- Joel & Victoria Osteen: Lakewood Church
- T.D. Jakes: Potter’s House
According to the Kellogg School of Management, some pastors are placing their faith in more management training along with religious leadership. Newsmax reports that there are more churches with more than 5,000 members attending services each week than in any other time in U.S. History. Today’s church leaders and pastors are required to have business skills, be telegenic, and usually, be excellent writers and public speakers. Here are five famous American pastors who are influencing the future of religious faith and the country.
Rick Warren: Saddleback Church
Author of a book that is second only to The Bible in bestsellers, The Purpose Driven Life, California’s pastor Rick Warren has even been called “the pope” among evangelical Christians. Pope Francis invited Warren to be a keynote speaker at the World Meeting of Families in 2015. Warren’s message of individual faith and purpose resonates worldwide. He is a frequent television guest and has been the subject of a major feature film, and is also consulted by U.S. Presidents and international leaders.
Greg Laurie: Harvest Christian Fellowship
Greg Laurie’s Harvest Church is based in Southern California, and may be better-known for its massive, stadium-filling crusades and events. Greg Laurie was part of the “Jesus People” movement in the 1960s, and Harvest began as a Bible study. Like many of the other most influential pastor’s, Laurie is an author. His most recent of more than 70 books tells the story of actor Steve McQueen’s Christian faith. More than 7.7 million people have attended Harvest Crusades, which are now broadcast live over the internet. Laurie hosts a radio broadcast and weekly television shows.
Dr. David Jeremiah: Shadow Mountain Community Church
Dr. David Jeremiah is less well-known than his predecessor, Dr. Tim LaHaye, the creator of the massive bestselling fictionalized account of the Rapture, the Left Behind series. LaHaye died in 2016, and Jeremiah became senior pastor of the Shadow Mountain Community Church in San Diego. He is the host of radio and television shows and author of more than 50 books, particularly ones emphasizing Christian theology and views of morality. Jeremiah’s radio programs reach an audience of about 480 million people worldwide, and Turning Point Television, broadcast in English and Spanish, reaches an estimated 2.7 households around the world.
Joel & Victoria Osteen: Lakewood Church
Joel Osteen’s bright smile is one of the best-known on television. The Osteens have their own SiriusXM channel and their television shows have higher ratings than all but the largest sports events. One of the most famous couples in the world, the Osteens promote evangelical Christian values and maintain a positive public image. Their Houston-based church averages more than 50,000 attendees each week and is regarded as the largest physical congregation in the United States.
T.D. Jakes: Potter’s House
Bishop T.D. Jakes leads the Potter’s House church in Dallas, Texas, a non-denominational church. The Potter’s House provides sermons via radio, television and the internet. Bishop Jakes, like many other leading pastors, is the author of dozens of books and he is also a filmmaker, including hit movies like Jumping the Broom and Miracles From Heaven. He has also received Grammy awards and has been called “the Next Billy Graham.”
Rev. Billy Graham’s son Franklin Graham should also be counted among famous American pastors. Graham leads Samaritan’s Purse, which conducts humanitarian aid worldwide, including countries like North Korea, where other aid organizations are not permitted. From the individual leaders and speakers of the past, today’s most influential pastors need business skills, management expertise, and many are accomplished broadcasters and authors.
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