Small Churches Are the Next Big Thing—With One Condition

Small groups, Small Churches and “book clubs with soul” (I just love that last one).

What’s going on here? Can we really take these anecdotal stories as an indication of a trend?

I think so. Because the evidence is coming in to back it up.

In a recent poll by the highly-respected Pew Forum, they found what everyone has suspected. Millennials attend church less often than their parents.

But that’s not all. “Among Millennials who are affiliated with a religion, however, the intensity of their religious affiliation is as strong today as among previous generations when they were young.” (emphasis theirs)

So, fewer of them attend religious services, but among those who do, their faith is as strong as ever. And that dedication is likely to grow, as it typically does when you find yourself in the minority.

Which means what? Everyone has their own interpretation, of course. Here’s mine.

It’s Time to Lead

Churches follow trends as much anyone. Usually about 20 years behind.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can lead.

Not in a “look how cool they are” way, or a “look how smart they are” way. But in a “look how they love one another” way.

There’s no better place to express or sense that kind of love-leadership than in a Small Church. It’s another reason I’m convinced that healthy Small Churches are going to be the next big thing.

No, megachurches won’t disappear, despite all the predictions to the contrary. And, as I stated in an earlier post, I hope they don’t. Instead, alongside megachurches I see a growing hunger for healthy, high-quality, innovative Small Churches to meet the needs of upcoming generations.

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Karl Vaters
Karl Vaters is the author of The Grasshopper Myth: Big Churches, Small Churches and the Small Thinking That Divides Us. He’s been in pastoral ministry for over 30 years and has been the lead pastor of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship in Fountain Valley, California for over 20 years. He’s also the founder of NewSmallChurch.com, a blog that encourages, connects and equips innovative Small Church pastors