360. Trendy Church

360. Trendy Church

Many church growth experts are pointing out key trends for future churches, and they even say any churches that don’t accept it will see a decline. Lewis Center for Church Leadership has released a main church trend for 2024 and these were the two main things that were mentioned: the rise of a small community and the expansion of lay-leader roles in ministry.

It is well documented that show-centric churches all saw a decline after the pandemic. Because when the church had no small communities, once the show stopped, there wasn’t much left to offer. But many smaller congregations were resilient through it because what couldn’t be replaced was the community where caring and nurturing relationships were formed. Such relationships became the bedrock for the church even through difficult times.

Also, churches are increasingly becoming lay-leader-driven. For example, in 2019, 12% of United Methodist churches were led by a lay pastor who had no seminary degree or education.

However, what many church experts discovered was what was already described in the Book of Acts. The early church gathered at each other’s homes for fellowship. Such a small community allowed genuine “koinonia” to happen. They were all led by lay leaders, not professional clergies.

After reading the report, I felt like we were all trying to go back to the basics, after trying out cool ideas on how to structure the church. I’m glad this shift is happening in many other churches. Church was never about building, but about people. Francis Chan says many modern churches have structured themselves to produce what Jesus never meant to produce in church.

We don’t do house church ministry because it is another cool trend. We do it because we are convinced that it is the church that Jesus had in mind all the while. The only church he knew would be the gathering of people at home. And that church turned the world upside down, overthrowing the Roman Empire. Many scholars argue Roman Emperor Constantine did not change the state religion to Christianity because he wanted to but because by that time, there were too many Christians that he had to. This “small” church was unstoppable.

I didn’t mention it in detail, but the report also mentioned “intergenerational emphasis” being the key in many churches these days for genuine faith formation. We never set out to create a trendy church, but at least for now, it doesn’t feel bad to know that we are a “trendy” church.