In the late 80’s I was Worship Pastor in a brand new church in Phoenix, AZ. One Sunday I created quite a buzz when I walked on stage and opened the service by singing the theme song from Cheers. The premise was simple and straightforward: Sometimes you want to go, where everybody knows your name. We sincerely wanted people to think of our church whenever they thought about hanging out with friends; with people who knew their name. While singing this song in church doesn’t seem all that creative 20 years later, I still think it represents a worthwhile goal for a church to pursue.

I’m reading a book called Microtrends. It’s a fascinating look at emerging trends around the world and the implications of those trends for our lives. The author cites a trend of organized religion being on the rise but it is now switching over to what he calls the Starbucks economy and the growth of the Mini-Church. These Mini-Churches (could also be called Boutique Churches) are “tailored to as many individual preferences as we can come up with. These days you can choose your faith, and your prayer community in practically as many varieties as you can choose your morning coffee.”

As I’ve thought about this I’ve wondered what would happen if this trend grew from a micro trend to a much more major trend. This could have a major impact on the church landscape in this country. What if churches were much more boutique in nature and catered to small niches of people. Not only would those who attend know everyone else’s name but they’d probably know much more about one another. On one hand I’m not sure this is all bad. From another perspective this only further supports the consumeristic tendencies so much of the American church landscape leans toward. From still another point of view this could lead to small, elitist churches where only certain people feel welcomed and comfortable.

So, what are your thoughts on these so-called Boutique Churches? Good thing, bad thing? Could it ultimately attract more people to Christ, or just shuffle the already convinced around from boutique to boutique? What do you think this trend could bring about?