It must be driving old evangelicals nuts or whether these are the offspring they wanted.
... According to a recent report by the Pew Research Center, the percentage of Americans who are not affiliated with any religion is on the rise, including a third of Americans under 30. Even so, nearly 80 percent of unaffiliated Americans say they believe in God, and close to half say they pray at least once a month.
The “spiritual but not religious” category is an important audience that evangelical leaders hope to reach in a culture that many believers call “post-Christian.”
So they arrange meetings in movie theaters, schools, warehouses and downtown entertainment districts. They house exercise studios and coffee shops to draw more traffic. Many have even cast aside the words “church” and “church service” in favor of terms like “spiritual communities” and “gatherings,” with services that do not stick to any script. ...NYT
The New York Times describes a series of meeting places that are searching for a reason to be, since God died. This has been going on for years. God was proclaimed dead several decades ago. The emergence of the latest ex-faithful -- added to the crowd of secular -- may confirm the death.
Still, there will always be born leaders (or con men in sheep's clothing) with no particular place to go until they find a piece of unused real estate that can be changed into a place where a group of followers can be formed and ultimately take the very American form of a profitable business. In our heart of hearts, we Americans know business is more sacred than the church. Nowhere is that clearer these days than in Washington, DC.
With 3,000 members, National Community Church is technically a megachurch, according to religion scholars, for whom any congregation over 2,000 qualifies. But with a high turnover rate of nearly 40 percent a year, its continued growth is a noteworthy feat.
Sunday services are held in six locations, mostly movie theaters, where the smell of Saturday night’s popcorn hangs in the air as prerecorded sermons play on the big screen.
The church also runs a coffee shop called Ebenezers near Union Station, where its religious affiliation is hard to detect. Until it ran out of room, it used to hold services in the basement, drawing new members from the coffee drinkers who wandered downstairs to investigate the music. ...
... The church has fielded hundreds of requests from other pastors for insights about its approach, and it has plans to franchise Ebenezers, first in Charlotte, N.C. ...NYT
No mention of the tax exemption or the IRS.