We all know about the megachurches in the U.S. But most of the churches in the U.S. are small churches. Now there seems to be a movement to even smaller gathers. Take St. Lydia's, a Dinner Church for example. They are a church of 30 that meet around dinner tables to share a meal and worship together. They have been meeting in a less than 1,000 square foot space. Now moving to a little bit larger space but with the focus still on the meal and sitting together in community. Rev. Emily D. Scott, pastor of Dinner Church, says, "Dinner Church takes place on a small scale. We might call it a micro-scale. In a macro-city like New York, one can feel like a tiny cog in a giant machine. … A gathering of 30 or so folks over a meal we cook together. Everyone is known by name (we're all wearing name tags) and folks there for the first time are invited to chop vegetables or set out silverware."

To account for the growth of the church they add services on different days. "we plan to grow by batch number instead of by batch size. About a year ago, we started worshipping on Monday night in addition to Sunday nights. We'll keep growing this way, adding more services as we go. In this way, a church the size of a couple of bowling alleys can sustain a pretty sizable congregation, and afford that New York rent."

Their new space in a Brooklyn storefront is " … designed to direct people toward God, not by turning their eyes to a far-removed altar, but by turning instead to one another. … In addition, we're crafting a space that intentionally invites people to participate. Open shelves holding plates and glasses encourage newcomers to jump in and set tables. It's easy to see where everything is stored—easy to take part."

Research  |  Trends
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