According to an article from Christianity Today, the trend for the future of churches is going to be ‘microchurches’, caused in large part by the seeming collapse of religious institutions that has been exposed by COVID, where people leave church and are not returning.
For the past four years, the Greens have been active with SALT churches, a network of microchurches they started in the region of Southern California. Earlier this year, they led Saturate OC, a worship on the beach evangelistic outreach.
If you ask Parker, a microchurch is around 10 to 40 people reaching those who do not yet know Jesus, making disciples and, most importantly, are on mission together. That “being on mission” aspect distinguishes it from previous home-based church movements.
“Doing what Jesus is doing [in realtime], I find, is super helpful,” he said, chuckling lightly, in a recent interview with The Christian Post.
Jessi added: “We definitely think that this is the trajectory that the Church is going to move in and it’s funny because I think especially because of social media we’re so afraid to almost innovate when it comes to church because we don’t want to appear like we’re bashing or against the current thing.”
“But if you look at church history, what we see right now is how many people would define ‘church’ is actually pretty new as of the last 100 years. What we see now as almost untouchable when it comes to church and how it’s done, most of the world would not define that as church at all.”
And distinctly missional microchurches are actually closer to what is seen in the pages of Scripture, they maintained. The “traditional” model that has become the norm for many in the Western world is not as normal as many think. (source)
I will offer another perspective. This is not merely a trend from COVID, nor is this a move of God at all, but rather, it is a move from the devil that is but completing what began a long time ago.
For years people have complained about the Catholic Church and how she is in decline, she is losing numbers, churches are closing, she has scandals, and on and on. However, while true many of these things are at least in part, the fact is that the Catholic Church was never in danger of actual destruction as an entity. This is a promise rooted in Sacred Scripture which has been insured by Christ Himself. This is a good start.
But from a practical perspective in American society, this same statement can be shown true by the numbers, for while the Church has lost much and has many problems and more to come, the core bloc that makes up the Church is still present. It has changed certainly, but it is not going anywhere. In fact, in many areas, it has grown or solidified with converts from chiefly various Protestant sects. For all of her problems, the fact is that while the diocese have suffered great financial losses, those who are still in the Church are very much solid believers, and this position continues to strengthen, with there being a strong core who want to hold fast to the teachings of the Faith.
This process never has really happened with the Protestant churches, even the ‘conservative’ inclined ones. Due to the relationship between Protestantism and nationalism, there has been a consistent overlap between the support of ‘Americanism’ and these sects. Given the general decline of the US, these sects are also in decline, and likewise, as many younger people are raised with religion as often but a nominal thing in their lives, they do not see religion as central to who they are, and thus since they can be a good citizen, why do they need to go to a building once a week with other people who think the same yet they do not really know or even like?
The Protestant churches are dying, and their death will most likely be quiet, sudden, and final. In other words, it is not a long and visible decline like the Church, that so many have pointed at and scorned the Church for, but it is likely just going to be that people leave and do not come back, and when it reaches a critical point, the churches will just close their doors and have the buildings sold or converted into office space or housing. The people are not coming back, the people who believe are likely going to disperse to a very conservative Protestant Church or to the Catholic Church, and the rest will join the ranks of the many secular-pagan Americans that are all over the society.
There is no ‘move of God’ taking place in these ‘churches’ except that the churches are dying their natural death on account of heresy that began centuries ago. It was inevitably that such a death would come, but the question is when, and after about five centuries, as it often seems to be with heresies, the illness has fully run its course, and now is finally disappearing, leaving behind a spiritual vacuum that will need to be filled. This is going to be the real challenge for the future, as the Western world and the whole world is going into dark times and warns of the famed words spoken by Cardinal George,
“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.” (source)
So if one is a Christian, remember to prepare, for things are not going to get easier.