Smaller churches are poised to make a comeback.
I’m serious. I see too many signs and indicators to believe otherwise.
For certain, I know the bad news. The median size of a church has declined from around 100 to 70 in worship attendance in a decade. That means one-half of all American congregations have fewer than 70 in worship attendance.
And I am aware that more people are attending larger churches today than they were 20, 15, 10, and 5 years ago. To be clear, I am aware that around 8,000 churches close every year.
Yes, I know those facts. But I feel the winds of change. Before we look at those change factors, let’s look at the size of churches in America. I cannot be absolutely certain about these numbers, but there are a lot of good bodies of research by some good organizations (National Congregations Study, Faith Communities Today 2015, 2014 Religious Landscape Study 2014 by Pew Research, and others).
0 to 49 worship attendance
40% of churches in America
50 to 124 worship attendance
27% of churches in America
125 to 249 worship attendance
18% of churches in America
250 to 499 worship attendance
8% of churches in America
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Thom S. Rainer