While traditional Christianity in America is experiencing a loss of members, the number of churchgoers is increasing. Where are the increased members going? The new members are creating growth in the “new” churches which are surprisingly like the old-time revivals. Donald E. Miller in his book, Reinventing American Protestantism believes that the new churches have grown because they offer four solutions for American families.
The following is an excerpt from M. Miller’s book”.
(1) Because of the isolation from core families, the new churches offer high degrees of community. They offer a new “family”of loving warmth and weekly acceptance to those persons living with apathy and rejection.
(2) Because of the high rate of violence/dysfunction in America, the new churches offer a wide variety of activities in a safe, loving environment where members know each other.
(3) The American family has been rapidly changing from two-parent family to one-parent family as well as experiencing high rates of addiction. The family problems need support and acceptance in the midst of these problems. Often times, the traditional church appear to be condemning and judging while the new churches offer solutions to pain and misery.
(4) Everyone needs hope and the knowledge that his/her life has direction and purpose. Hope is delivered in a message of fun and belonging.
One of the largest growing “new” churches is Calvary Chapel. On the website for Calvary Chapel, a map for the churches includes 51 chapels for Florida (where I live) and 300 for California. It also is spotlighted in Miller’s book. Calvary Chapel has experienced huge growth since its beginnings in 1970’s in California. The Cavalry website has a 58-page history of the movement.