Small Church America: Diverse, Authentic, Creative

Outreach magazine annual report: Today’s small church is reinventing itself. Here’s how.

From coffee shops or house churches to lifestyle-driven or intentionally multiethnic congregations, today’s small church is reinventing itself.

VISTA, Calif., June 11, 2010—Responding to cultural and sociological trends, small churches nationwide are painting fresh pictures of community and life transformation. Throughout the pages of its July/August 2010 issue, Outreach magazine shines a spotlight on these congregations of 300 or less to reveal how small-church America is changing in form and mission.

The magazine worked with Outreach columnist Chuck Warnock, a small-church pastor and blogger, to report on seven types of small, evangelical churches: traditional community stalwarts; marketplace ministries; lifestyle-driven; ethnic; multiethnic; new church starts that often start small; and house churches that intentionally stay small.

For example, Renaissance Foursquare Church in Portland, Ore., more commonly known to locals as Renaissance Café, is a coffee shop that happens to also be a church of about 30. Arabic Bible Church in Richardson, Texas, with 50 attendees reaches and serves Iraqi refugees, while Pine Lake Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, Ga., at one time a homogenous white church, has shifted with its neighborhood’s racial makeup to become a multiethnic church of 160.

“As we identified these diverse church types, we also discovered congregations to illustrate each one,” Outreach Editor Lindy Lowry says. “These churches are representative of smaller churches throughout the country that are entering and living out the Gospel in a hurting world. We believe this issue will educate and inspire churches of all sizes.”

In addition to the cover story, the issue also features a readers-submitted roundup of practical ideas small churches have executed to engage and serve locally and globally, as well as The Outreach Interview featuring Utah church planter Charles Hill and an article highlighting small churches’ great advantage over larger churches: authenticity. Plus, Outreach columnists Ed Stetzer, Dan Kimball, Dave Gibbons, Brad Powell, Chuck Warnock, Bobby Gruenewald and Mark DeYmaz write about the small-church landscape.

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Vista, Calif.-based Outreach magazine offers the ideas, insights and stories of today’s outreach-oriented, Bible-based churches to help churches reach their communities and change the world. Founded in January 2003 by church communications company Outreach, Inc., Outreach is an award-winning, bimonthly periodical for church leadership. Each year, Outreach publishes the Outreach 100, a special issue in September that features the 100 Largest and Fastest-Growing Churches in America; the Small Church issue (July/August); and the Outreach Resources of the Year (March/April). Outreach is available by subscription.

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