In preparation for the annual report, we solicit participation from more than 27,000 churches. Through the process, they are contacted by fax, email, letter, phone and certified mail. The Outreach 100 is a self-reported survey, based on attendance averages, not membership. Churches that participate provide weekend attendance averages for February and March, excluding Easter. These figures are then compared with the previous year’s averages for the same months. The final rankings reflect an average of numerical gain and percentage gain. Although we go to great lengths to confirm data, the information is reported by pastors, staff or church officers, and as such, reflects their perception—their churches as they see them. The 2018 Fastest-Growing list includes surveyed churches with attendance greater than 1,010, a numerical gain of 127 or more and a percentage gain of at least 5 percent. The 2018 Largest list includes all churches participating in the survey with attendance of 5,138 or more.
We seek the broadest possible participation from evangelical Protestant churches, but since The Outreach 100 is a self-reported survey, not an independent investigation, there are omissions. Some churches choose not to respond to multiple interview and data requests for a variety of reasons. If you notice the absence of a high-profile evangelical church, chances are they were invited to participate and opted out.
Certainly The Outreach 100 is a celebration of numbers, a recognition of church addition and multiplication. Ultimately, though, The Outreach 100 is not so much about numbers as it is the individuals those numbers represent—people who have found hope in Christ and the churches pointing them to him.
Each Spring, LifeWay Research provides participating churches with a Church Information Sheet and a Weekly Attendance Tracking Form to note February and March attendance (excluding Easter weekend). To make sure your church is on The Outreach 100 reminder list, email your church’s name, address, fax number and an authorized contact name to [email protected]
. Include “Outreach 100 Reminder List” in the subject line.