13 Issues for Churches in 2013

4. More churches moving to multiple venues. 

Membership in Mensa is not a requisite to have an insight on this issue. Just from an anecdotal perspective, the number of congregations moving to multiple venues is staggering. Indeed, that issue may be the single greatest distinguishing factor in growing churches.

The variety of the venues is increasing as well. Some churches have different venues on the same campus. Others move to multiple campus models. Some have an on-site preacher/teacher; others offer video streaming. Some churches have venues on Sunday only. Other churches have venues up to seven days a week.

In the 1960s, American congregations moved to multiple worship services in sweeping numbers. That same trend in multiple venues is taking place today. It should accelerate.

5. The growth of prayer emphasis in local congregations. 

Though prayer is foundational in the life of New Testament congregations, it frankly has not garnered much attention in recent years in American churches. There was a subtle but noticeable shift in 2012.

More and more church leaders and members realized the power and strength of health in their congregations is not human-centered but God-dependent. I am reticent to predict a true prayer revival in our nation, but I am confident in saying more local congregations will focus on prayer.

It will be interesting to see how such an emphasis manifests itself in each local body.

6. Fickle commitment. 

In his post, Sam Rainer noted an overall decline in institutional loyalty. It is certainly pervasive in many American congregations.

Indeed, the culture of the vast majority of American churches has been one of low commitment. That lower level of commitment is evident, paradoxically, in even the more committed members. Those members who once were present “every time the doors were open” may now be present, for example, 75 percent of the time.

It is likely that decreased frequency of active attendees may be the single largest contributor to church decline in the past five years.

1
2
3
4
Previous articleWhat in the World Is Discipleship?
Next articleJohn Piper Interviews Jerry Bridges, Author of "The Pursuit of Holiness"
Thom Rainer
Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources (LifeWay.com). Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and six grandchildren. He was founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His many books include Surprising Insights from the Unchurched, The Unexpected Journey, and Breakout Churches.