Who are the most influential Evangelicals in America?
TIME Magazine took a guess at The Top 25 Evangelicals a few years back, but I think things have shifted just a tad since then. I made one of these lists just a year or so ago, and I’ve changed several names.
Previously listed were: James Dobson, Charles Colson, Kirk Cameron & Sarah Palin.
Here is my current subjective list of who I think the top 10 most influential Evangelical leaders (for better or worse) may be (in no particular order of importance):
1. Dave Ramsey
In our failing economy, everyone is looking for answers, and the man who has been ready with them is Dave Ramsey. He has used his platform to reach millions of people, even outside of the Christian community who are looking for financial advice.
2. Joel Osteen
He has become a rallying point for many in the Charismatic movement because of his positive message and the fact that he has avoided scandal.
Brian is, in my view, the father of the modern “Emerging Church” movement, which is one of the most influential movements in America right now. There are others more popular, but none that are more influential.
4. Rob Bell
Of all of the really hip preacher guys in America, Rob is arguably the hippest. No one has brought Starbucks and Christianity closer than Rob. His new book, “Love Wins” is the most chattered about book in the Christian world right now, and he is young enough to be around for quite some time yet.
5. John Piper
Piper has become a rather “hip” face for the Reformed theology crowd and has a tremendous influence on people who don’t even know what a TULIP is.
Mark has filled gap between Rob Bell and John Piper. He’s young and hip, but is increasingly leaning on a more historic version of Christianity than most of the pop-preachers. He definitely has the ear of a large segment of young adult Christians in America.
7. Rick Warren
Rick is sort of a magnet that attracts support (and criticism) from both the far right and the far left. The fact that he is as controversial as he is reveals his influence. If you don’t matter, people don’t care what you do.
8. Louie Giglio
Louie may be the most influential evangelical that you DON’T KNOW. He is the founder of the Passion Conferences and is a personal mentor to Matt Redman, Chris Tomlin and many other contemporary worship leaders and songwriters. He is influencing influencers in a similar (although different) vein as Francis Schaeffer several decades ago. As a refreshing side note, if you visit the Passion City Church site, or the Passion Conferences site, you will find little about Louie on either site. He seems to like to work behind the scenes and promote Jesus, rather than his own personality.
9. T.D. Jakes
I don’t think there is anyone who has more influence over African-American church-goers than Bishop Jakes.
10. Ken Ham
There is still a large segment of those who identify themselves as Fundamentalist Christians, and Ken represents the “funnest” of these. He leads the charge of the Creationist movement, and has the ear of the ever-growing homeschooling movement as well. For these reasons, I think he is a leader among the most theologically conservative elements of Evangelicalism.
Please do not interpret my listing of these leaders as an endorsement of them or their ministries.
So what do you think? Agree, or disagree? I’d love to hear your feedback.