When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Pentecost, the birthday of the church, is a good chance to think about the changing religious landscape in America and how our congregation might fit into that. I begin with a story.
A while back I was eating lunch with another pastor, a casual acquaintance of mine. Since this pastor was studying new church development in a doctoral program, we chatted about the future of evangelism and church planting in America.
“So what’s new in the world of evangelism and church planting?” I asked.
“Well,” he replied, “one new thing is that the megachurch era is basically over.”
I swallowed the potatoes in my mouth then gasped. “What?! The era of the megachurch is over? What do you mean by that?”
“It’s peaked,” he said evenly. “The research on this is fairly clear. Of the new churches that are being planted, a smaller percentage are evolving into megachurches. And the existing megachurches aren’t growing numerically like they once did.”
“If the megachurch movement has peaked,” I asked, “then what’s next in new church development? What’s the next trend?”
- Acts 2:1 - 4