At most churches, it’s embarrassing to show up late. But if you arrive early at Greg Stultz’s church, you might interrupt the hosts’ last-minute preparations as they put away homework or toss shoes up the stairs.
Stultz and his family are part of a house church. They typically meet on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, though the week that I visited they were meeting in Dover, Del. Each week, their small group crowds into a private living room for dinner and fellowship — and their church is no rarity.
With new church construction at its lowest point since 1967, and with more religiously unaffiliated Americans than ever before, many congregations say they’ve become more committed communities by losing the pews and stained-glass windows of a central building.