Journey in the Wilderness: New Life for Mainline Churches
Rendle notes there are three threats to small churches today: location, economics and a generation gap. Many of our smaller churches were built in rural areas and small villages to provide reasonable access to people. Today, fewer people live in those areas, making it difficult for these small churches to attract new people.
With reduced numbers of people, economics becomes a problem that is often compounded by the mindset that every church must have its own pastor and its own building. Many of these buildings have not been well maintained due to decreasing funds.
Journey in the Wilderness: New life for Mainline Churches
One day the church will find that it cannot avoid long-neglected repairs any longer, and the bill for those repairs may be overwhelming. The final issue is the generation gap that exists in many churches. Smaller churches find it very difficult to attract and serve the four or five generations that now exist in many families.
Many of our older, smaller churches are made up primarily of the oldest two generations and a scattering of small children brought by their grandparents. There is an obvious generation or two missing in many of these churches, which does not bode well for their future. However, this does not mean an end to the smaller church.
Keep the Faith
While many smaller churches may well close in the next few years, others will rise up to replace them. There is something appealing to younger adult populations about small congregations. Many of them will prefer the smaller church to the mega-church, but these smaller churches will not look like the small churches of today.
They will be much more missional and outward focused than the often inward-focused small church we often find today. They may not meet regularly on Sunday mornings but find other times more in line with the schedules of the participants. Their leadership is likely to come from within their congregations.
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Journey in the Wilderness
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