Tuesday, September 17, 2013



Thom Rainer wonders if the death of the mall portend the death of the megachurch:
But there is more to the decline of the malls than the rise of the digital world. The Boomer generation has been the generation of bigness and sprawl. Their parents, in the aftermath of World War II, moved numbers of them to the new and massive suburbia. Large malls would soon follow. Most large megachurch buildings were constructed primarily for the favor of the Boomers.

But the children of the Boomers, Generation X and, even more, the Millennials, have been pushing for more intimacy and smallness. They triggered the unprecedented growth of Starbucks. They have been the key movers in social media, which has fostered a new online intimacy.

Among the Christian Millennials there is a desire for greater intimacy in church. They are in many ways triggering a new small group revolution. And though they may not have an explicit aversion to large church facilities, neither are they attracted to them.

The Future Size of Church Facilities

As there will still be large malls twenty years from now, so will there be large church facilities whose worship centers can accommodate 2,000 or more in one service. But you will also see a discernible difference in megachurches in ten or twenty years. Fewer of these large churches will have large facilities. More will have smaller worship centers and multiple venues, many with multiple gathering times and days.

Interesting, but I always return to one question when I read stuff like that. Is not the cart before the horse? Should not the church be shaping such trends not following them? Shouldn't the church be defining the purposes and uses of intimacy and large public gatherings?

We complain that the culture is leaving Christianity behind. Maybe that is because We are not leading culture.


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