This past week, Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary released a list of the top 12 “most effective” pastors, Christianity Today reported. Popular pastors like Tim Keller, John Piper and Andy Stanley made the cut, along with several other phenomenal pastors.
The pastors come from a wide range of backgrounds — from evangelical legends like Chuck Swindoll, to newer voices like Ralph Douglas West.
The 12 picks represent “the most effective preachers in the English-speaking world” (though all are based in the U.S.). To determine who would make the list, Truett’s surveyed 180 different sermon experts from the Evangelical Homiletics Society and the Academy of Homiletics.
The top preachers, in alphabetical order, started with Alistair Begg who is a senior pastor at Parkside Church outside Cleveland. He has authored several popular books, including Preaching for God’s Glory as well as editor of the Spurgeon Study Bible. He also received an honorary doctorate of divinity by Westminster Theological Seminary for “outstanding dedication to preaching, church leadership, and evangelism.”
Tony Evans, founder and senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas. He is known for both his written work and spoken work on the Cross as the remedy to racism. Evans was the first African American to earn a doctorate in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary.
Joel C. Gregory, who is an endowed chair in preaching and evangelism at the George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University in Waco, Texas. He has preached the Word of God for over 50 years and is a reoccurring contributor to Preaching Today.
Tim Keller, who is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York. Keller stepped down from the role of weekly preaching last year, but has always emphasized the importance of preaching, writing in his book Preaching that “expository preaching should provide the main diet of preaching for a Christian community.”
Fifth on the list was Thomas G. Long, who is a professor emeritus of preaching at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. He has always preached the importance of a “one-point sermon” and said that “I think serious preachers, preachers who give themselves to this task, need to learn how to forgive themselves for not producing masterpieces every week.”
Sixth on the list was John Piper, the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and founder of the popular Christian website, Desiring God. Piper is a best selling author who has released over 50 books and has popularized Reformed theology among millennials.
Next came Haddon Robinson, who is the former president and professor of preaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston. Robinson died last year at age 86.
Ninth was Andy Stanley, who is the senior pastor at North Point Community Church, Buckhead Church, Browns Bridge Church, Gwinnett Church, Woodstock City Church and Decatur City Church. He also founded North Point Ministries, a worldwide Christian outreach organization.
Next came Charles Swindoll, who is the senior pastor at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. Swindoll was also featured on Baylor’s first “12 most-effective preachers” list in 1996.
Eleventh on the list was Barbara Brown Taylor, who was a former Episcopal priest, professor, author and theologian. She was the only female to make the list and is known for her work in the educational world. She has served at the Columbia Theological Seminary, Emory’s Candler School of Theology and Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology.
Last but not least, Ralph Douglas West, was named. He is the founder and senior pastor of The Church Without Walls in Houston. He also serves as adjunct professor of preaching at George W. Truett Theological Seminary of Baylor University
According to Christianity Today, the survey asked respondents to evaluate preachers based on seven different areas: biblical/exegetical quality, relevance, personal character, theology, sermon form, effective communication and delivery. The top 12 represent the top-rated among 1,000 nominees.
(H/T: Christianity Today)