Every Monday night, Meredith Scott and eight of her friends get together at one of their homes in St. Paul, Minn. They cook a meal, share what's going on in their lives and pray together.
But Scott and her friends don't call this a Bible study or a support group — they call it a church. They are part of the growing number of Americans who are shifting from traditional churches toward more informal, intimate settings, dubbed "house churches."
"How do you form a community in a church of 4,000 people?" asks Scott, who used to attend a megachurch in St. Paul. "Sometimes it's hard to get really connected. What I've really been looking for is community."
And so are many others. The number of adults attending house churches in the United States has grown substantially over the last decade, according to George Barna of the Barna Group, a Christian ministries market research firm. Though official numbers are hard to pin down due to the nature of these churches, Barna said a conservative estimate is that 5 million adults attend a house church every week...