Life Church Green Bay: No. 7 Fastest-Growing Church, 2017

“Our culture is thick. It filters out all ministry ideas that don’t first point to Jesus,” says Sonny Hennessy, executive pastor and marketing director. “We are intentional to keep the four things we do in our culture front and center. We are either moving forward spiritually in our city or moving backward. There is no neutral at Life Church. We refuse to settle for less, but instead fast and pray to be found trustworthy for God to send us more people and more favor.

“Early on, we discovered in our post-Christian, heavily Catholic city that if we pointed to Jesus, not to religion, Jesus would draw all unto him as he promises in the Bible. Everything we do is filtered through the Great Commission of living out the life-giving message of Jesus, being ‘Jesus with skin on’ to all around us. We even call ourselves ‘Jesus-people on this Jesus journey together,’ just to remind ourselves to be more like Jesus every day. Jesus is attractive even to people who have been hurt by the church or who reject religion. Jesus and Jesus-people bridge a gap that pastors can’t. We point people to Jesus and realize the church is a tool but not their source. This is new to people in a post-Christian or liturgical culture.

“The Sunday messages are full of Scripture and historical background while also trimmed down to 30 minutes and communicated in a way to prepare people for the rest of the week—a mindset that keeps us on-message, showing people how the Bible speaks to every need in their life and family. We unapologetically make a big a deal about kids and students, and they take over 60 percent of the building. The Family Life Auditorium, classrooms, playscape, basketball court and arcade are the first thing you see when you enter the building.

“Even our process of getting plugged in to a team or a life group can happen within a month of someone first attending, because we offer both of our growth-track classes every Sunday during second service. We believe it shouldn’t be more difficult to be a part of a church than it is to accept Jesus. Dozens of people repeat the prayer of salvation each Sunday, and dozens more become family members each Sunday. Our spiritual soil is the (920) area code, and the culture is changing in our city.”

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De Pere, Wisconsin
Senior Pastor: Shawn Hennessy
Twitter: @ShawnHennessy@GreenBayChurch
Facebook: /LifeChurchGB
Founded: 2008
Affiliation: Nondenominational
Locations: 2
Attendance: 3,099
Growth in 2016: +832 (37%)
Fastest Growing: 7