Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Reaching the Next Generation Without a Starbucks or Laser Light Show

Many experts have written eectively about how cities and urban areas are changing. A number of fine books and well-written articles detail how urban churches have addressed cultural change. Numerous urban churches and mega-churches have developed new ministry models to reach their communities. Large churches are building Starbucks coee shops in their lobbies and health club—quality family life centers on their growing campuses. Some churches now use their spacious lobbies as art galleries. Others have professional-quality light and laser shows in their sanctuaries. Many large churches employ a variety of sta members to lead a growing number of programs aimed at reaching the next generation. Many of these large, urban churches are successfully reaching the constantly evolving culture and the younger generations that have emerged from it.

However, most of the ministry models used by large, urban churches do not fit the context of smaller churches, nor are they feasible in more rural areas or small towns. Few resources are being developed to help small churches and churches in rural areas impact their changing communities. Though some small churches may question the validity of some of these innovative outreach methods, for the moment, let us assume that since churches are led by godly, Spirit-filled individuals who pray through their decisions, that these methods are appropriate in the right context. Even if we all agree with that assumption, the majority of churches in North America are too small to do those specific types of things eectively. Regardless of available resources, small churches must not abandon the next generation to a life of spiritual and emotional pain without the hope that faith in Jesus Christ brings. Small churches must not abandon the next generation to an eternity in hell because the church cannot aord a Starbucks in the lobby or a laser light machine in the sanctuary. Small churches must find a way to reach the emerging generations. Small churches will have to learn new approaches without discarding their core values or theological distinctives. This will be a challenge, but it can be done.

An excerpt from Terry Dorsett’s book, Mission Possible: Reaching the Next Generation through the Small Church, published by CrossBooks, a division of Lifeway.


  1. Small churches can be effective by doing what they do best--relate to people. Relationships are the key and small church members must be encouraged to reach out--not to get someone in church (like in the past) but to meet their needs where they are. As we thus minister for Christ, our world can be won by small churches.
    Terry Reed
    Small Church Tools

  2. thanks for sharing Terry, relationships are very important..