Continuing my highly derivative series on church trends, the next 10 are from an article by church growth consultant and author Thom Rainer:
Trend 9: Worship center downsizing becomes normative.
This trend was easy to predict. The Millennials are leading the way to attend worship services that are small to mid-size. As a consequence, the huge worship centers have lost their attraction. Church architects and design/build firms will be busy downsizing worship centers.
Eh … this one doesn’t have much to do with Churches of Christ. We only have a handful of “mega-churches,” that is, churches with more than 2,000 in average attendance.
Trend 10: Longer pastoral tenure.
This trend is being led by Millennial pastors. These younger pastors do not desire to climb the ladder to larger churches. They are more desirous to stay and make a long-term difference in the community.
In the Churches of Christ, preachers typically don’t grow churches. Rather, the preacher grows and so changes churches to a congregation large enough for his talents. You can study the stats if you wish. There is simply no correlation with “pastoral tenure” and church growth. Rather, better preachers get job offers and move to larger, better paying churches.
There are, of course, exceptions. Some preachers do stay for many years and build the church numerically. But it’s truly exceptional when this happens. See my analysis of the data at this old post: Church Growth: Hiring the Right Preacher, Part 2.
All the church growth literature says that long-term tenure by the same preacher is essential to growth — but it just doesn’t happen in Churches of Christ. Either our preachers don’t know how to grow a church or else our elders and other influential church members so staunchly oppose needed change that we just don’t grow. And the numbers bear this out.