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Last Updated: Mar 25, 2019

Scoring America's 100 Largest Churches for Clarity (2017)

Looking for a church in the new year?

Church Clarity has released new data which scores the 100 largest churches in America in 2017 as featured in the Christian publication, Outreach Magazine. In addition to scoring for clarity of LGBTQ+ policy, the data also covers racial and gender diversity among senior pastors. Here are the highlights of what we've found:

0% of Outreach’s 100 Largest churches have affirming LGBTQ+ policies
Only 35% have CLEAR LGBTQ+ policies on the main pages of the websites
65% of these church websites either obscure policy language
(54% UNCLEAR) or entirely omit (11% UNDISCLOSED)
their actively enforced LGBTQ+ policies.
43% are non-denominational churches; only 3 in 10 have clear LGBTQ+ policies.
7% are led by a senior pastor of color
(people of color are 38% of US population)
1% are led by a senior female pastor, who is a co-pastor with her husband (women are 50% of the US population and 8% of Fortune 100 CEOs)

Outreach’s annual list is a collaboration between Outreach magazine and Lifeway Research. The list is based on self-reported data from churches and represents over 1.1 million Evangelicals in America. To search our entire crowd-sourced database of churches, go here.

*In a country/world where roughly 50% of the population is female, let's not get too excited about Fortune's 8% stat. The point is to compare for-profit corporations vs churches.

METHODOLOGY

LGBTQ Policy:

See How We Score for explanation of our scoring.

Gender:

We designated the gender of the senior pastor based on the pronouns -- on the church’s website or pastor’s social media or website -- used to describe the senior pastor as well as any gender-based terms such as “husband” or “wife.” Given the limitations in our methodology, please email us if we mis-designated a pastor’s gender.

The options we currently have for gender-identity are: Woman, Man, Non-binary. We acknowledge that “gender” is a spectrum, but for simplicity’s sake, we’ve chosen these three options. We’re open to your feedback.

A senior pastor is counted as the senior pastor only if the church self-reports the person as a pastor in Outreach’s list. This means that if a website lists husband and wife as co-pastors, but only submits the husband as a pastor to Outreach’s database, only the husband will be considered the pastor. Please email us if we mis-assigned the correct pastor.

Race:

We designate the race of the senior pastor based on the available information to us from the church’s website: visual appearance, last names, or any mention that the senior pastor makes online (e.g. blogposts, social media posts) of his/her ethnicity or heritage. The options we currently have for race are: Black, Latino, Asian, Native American, White, Other. Given the limitations in our methodology -- visual appearance and last names certainly do not tell the whole story -- please email us if we mis-assigned a pastor’s race. While we acknowledge that “race” is a societal construct, it is a construct that has real consequences on people’s lives. Thus we have chosen to measure “racial” diversity in senior leadership as best as we can, while being wide open to correction.

The 2018 100 Churches

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