Nine Texans, including two in the Top 10, were among the 2007 50 Most Influential Christians in America, as ranked by The Church Report.
The Lone Star State tied with California - each having nine representatives on the annual list.
The article appears in the January issue of the Church Report, a national business and news magazine distributed to more than 40,000 senior pastors and Christian leaders from across the United States.
According to the publishers, the list is the result of more than 200,000 nominations from readers of the print and online versions of the magazine.
“As with all types of lists, there are those not on this list, not because they were not deserving, but simply because we could not publish a list of the 100 most influential Christians in America,” the article reads.
Church Report readers ranked Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, No. 1.
“Pastor Osteen - who early in his church life never thought about being a pastor and preferred being in the background - pastors one of the largest churches in America, is a best-selling author and travels across the country speaking to packed arenas of people eager to hear his message,” the article reads. “Always humble, Pastor Osteen gives credit to his wife, his staff and his church family for his success and the many blessings of Lakewood Church. Pastor Osteen has a gift for reaching unchurched people with his message of positive thought and God’s plan for our lives.”
According to Jason T. Christy, CEO of Christy Media and publisher of Church Report, the vote was extremely close this year for the top position.
“Joel Osteen was No. 2 last year,” Christy said. “And it was a very, very close vote this year.”
Christy said he is a good friend with Osteen and he will be traveling to Houston this Sunday to give an enlarged, framed cover of the magazine to Osteen.
“This is the one list during the year where we say hands off for our staff,” Christy said. “But being good friends with Joel it’s nice that I’ll get to go to Houston and make the presentation to him.”
Bishop T.D. Jakes, pastor of The Potter’s House Church in Dallas, is also ranked in the Top 10 with a spot at No. 4.
President George W. Bush barely missed the Top 10 list with a spot at No. 11.
Two father-son duos also made the Top 50, with evangelist Billy Graham coming in at No. 2 and his son Franklin Graham coming in at 14.
Paul Crouch and son Paul Crouch Jr., with the Trinity Broadcasting Network, were ranked Nos. 6 and 18, respectively.
Making their first appearance on the annual list this year were Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Concention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, who placed 31 on the list; Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, who placed 41 on the list; and Phil Vischer, founder of Big Idea Productions and the creator of the VeggieTales series, who placed at 46.
Other Texans on the list are Ed Young Jr., pastor of Fellowship Church in Grapevine; Chuck Swindoll, author and pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco; Marcus Lamb, founder and owner of the Daystar Television Network in Dallas; Max Lucado, author and pastor of Oak Hills Church of Christ in San Antonio; Dr. John Hagee, pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio; and rounding out the list at No. 50, Frank Sommerville, a shareholder in the Weycer, Kaplan, Pulaski & Zuber, P.C. law firm in Dallas. Sommerville has served as an accountant, auditor, tax and legal advisor for non-profit organizations.
“You certainly expect large numbers from Texas,” Christy said. “There are lots of large churches and ministries from Texas. With the combination of large churches, large population, being in the buckle of the Bible belt as well as home to a Christian television network it’s no surprise that Texas was represented as well as it was.”
The Church Report is published by Christy Media, headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., and founded by Jason T. Christy, CEO of Christy Media.
To read the entire list, visit: http://www.thechurchreport.com.
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