"In an era where churches experience lower attendance rates, perhaps we would be well served to look into 'craft churches.' "

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Ed Vasicek's picture

The idea of "niches" is an old concept in church growth strategy.  A church should offer something unique or it may as well merge with another church.  Sometimes, if there are no other churches around like it in belief and philosophy of church (e.g., expository preaching, a certain doctrinal stance, and not legalistic), the combination of convictions and philosophy itself make it unique.


One unique idea I have heard about is "Free Market Cell Groups."  Anyone have information on how to implement such an approach?

"The Midrash Detective"

Charlie's picture

I think Tim Keller has embodied this approach pretty well. At first, that might seem strange, since he has a huge church (set of churches?), but it makes sense if you think about how he got there. He didn't grow up in the city; he learned his way around once he got there. He made understanding his culture such a priority that he was able to develop a model of ministry that spoke passionately and clearly to his target audience. 

The irony is that many pastors, especially in the PCA, have attempted to replicate his success by replicating his church. But they're missing the point. Their community is not the same as Keller's, and by trying to imitate him slavishly, they fail to speak to their audience.

I'm happy to say that when I lived in Greenville, my church did it the right way. The pastor inspired us to love Greenville for what it was, to envision a better future for it. In return, the community loves the church, and it's seen remarkable growth and ministry opportunities. 

My Blog: http://dearreaderblog.com

Cor meum tibi offero Domine prompte et sincere. ~ John Calvin

Susan R's picture


I think it is should be instinctive that a church be a reflection of its community. That's just natural. But the 'marketing' tone makes me uncomfortable, because it sounds gimmicky.

The craft brewery analogy is annoying.