niche church… the only way forward?

What’s so wrong with churches that serve a a particular group of people?  Why isn’t there a youth church in each town?  A church for elderly people (ok maybe there is one of these most places!), a children’s church…

Does the church suffer from trying to be all things to all people?  The churches that seem to be growing offer groupings to people based on shared interests or age or gender or whatever.  Is that the way forward?  Is our obsession with ‘being together’ the thing that is driving us apart?

What do you think?  Should we be going for variety?  Or one size fits hardly any?  Or is there another way?


8 Responses to niche church… the only way forward?

  1. Rose says:

    An interesting question. It has given me a lot to think about because it comes from a totally different perspective than I have considered before. I live in a country whose founding principals included the freedom to worship as one pleases. A peek in my local phone directory reveals a full 12 pages of different church listings. I literally live in the land of Niche Churches! Therefore I really can’t comment on your query in the context it was asked. But I have had fun thinking about it and the possible reasons for asking the question in the first place. Thanks!

  2. Stewart says:

    Would it be worth noting that in the USA, although church attendance has declined over the past years, around 40% of people still attend regularly. I have no doubts that the 12 pages of church listings must have something to do with that. Even Glasgow would only manage a few pages in our phone book, although it must be said that the majority of our churches would be unlikely to even have a listing in the phone book which probably says much more about our attitude to mission!

  3. pmk1977 says:

    Or does it not say something about the fact that a lot of churches don’t have phones in them?

  4. Stewart says:

    Yes Pauline, it does. It says that ‘we don’t want people to know where we are or how to get in touch with us unless they know who our minister is’.

    I know lots of churches have offices now and people can contact them but to get in touch with most of our churches takes a bit of detective work.

    Anyway, back to ‘niche church’. Is there anything wrong with youth congregations? Elderly congregations? Women’s church? Toddler’s church?

    Why is it that the majority of churches have a ‘worship is on Sunday morning and if you don’t like it or can’t make it that’s just too bad’ kind of approach? It might not be deliberate but that’s how many people perceive it.

  5. pmk1977 says:

    This is back to the flippant side, but I think you’re wrong about the reason for not having phones – I think in general that churches, unless they have an office, tend not to have anyone ‘working’ in them who would be able to answer a phone, nothing more sinister than that. Let’s face it, ministers work from home and since in the Cof S we are talking about parish churches, people in the parish can see necessary details on the notice boards where there are the contact numbers they need/want. I think you’re being unduly harsh.

  6. Stewart says:

    The thing is (and this will be the last comment about phones!) that most churches don’t have a phone on their premises because they have never considered that it would be helpful, even given the large numbers of elderly people who use our buildings and the number of people of any age who could have an accident or fall ill. It’s simply not good enough to rely on someone having a mobile.

    Apart from that call forwarding is widely available from all phone providers.

    Notice boards mean that people have to physically come to the church to get a phone number. You have no idea of how many people phone the church’s central offices each year to find out where a local church is!

    So, I don’t think I’m being harsh. Just trying to highlight an area of possible improvement in the passing.

  7. Rose says:

    What about websites?

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