4. Retirement Community Churches
This is a valid and growing, but often overlooked segment of the church.
I have a friend who pastors a wonderful, healthy church in a retirement community. Every year, he performs funerals for 20 percent of his congregation. So he has to maintain 20 percent growth just to keep his attendance level. Which he does. In any other circumstance, 20 percent growth every year for over a decade would get you noticed. In his case, he has to fight completely unwarranted feelings of failure.
5. Niche Churches
I’m convinced this will be a growing segment of the church world in the coming decades. Especially in large population centers. Churches that serve a peculiar segment of the population – as in, people who would never attend either a traditional church or a modern contemporary one – are needed now, more than ever.
Sometimes the niche is ethnic or language based. Sometimes it's a group that feels alienated from mainstream society. Often, these segments are so small that there will never be enough of them to build a big church. But they need to hear about Jesus in a way that meets their unique sensibilities and needs.
6. Counter-Cultural Churches
This often overlaps with Niche Churches, but not necessarily.
Big and megachurches usually grow large and fast because they use methods that tap into the ethos of a surrounding culture. This is an important part of contextualizing the Gospel message, adapting methods to fit the culture while maintaining a message that often remains counter to it.
But some churches are planted in cultures where the ground is very hard and rocky. Or they're called to be counter-cultural in their methods, not just their message. These churches don't tap into the culture, they swim in 180-degree opposition to it.
7. House Churches
House churches are a valid, but far-too-often overlooked expression of the body of Christ. And, like Niche Churches, they are likely to multiply in the coming decades. For more on this, check out my post, How to Have a Church Where Money Is Never a Problem (For Real).
8. Impoverished Churches
With some wonderful exceptions, most megachurch success stories happen where the populace has an income level well above average.
But there are many communities where the median income is low and dropping, usually along with a diminishing job market and population base. The faithful, prayerful, hardworking, wise and loving people who are called by God to live and minister in these communities – usually living at poverty levels themselves – should not be placed under unreasonable expectations of unlikely numerical growth.