Subject Area

Theology/Religious Education


While serving as an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church, I began to realize that church shopping poses an existential worry to the survival of small churches in North America, mainly those with limited resources. The demand of some church shoppers for social amenities like indoor gyms and theater-style folding seats over personal relationship with God creates low morale for small churches, which often lack a positive response strategy.

This research study proposes a mitigating strategy, Community Connect, to address the social, psychological, missional, and ecclesiological impacts of church shopping on small churches. This socio-missiological, ecclesiological, and pedagogical approach aims to restore small churches' self-confidence by connecting them with specific assets within their broader communities to which they can direct church shoppers.

Using a qualitative methodology, this research delves into the personal narratives of three small congregations within the North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church. Two of these congregations are in small urban areas, while the other is in a rural region. The study analyzes the effects of church shopping on these churches by analyzing their experiences.

Academically, this research addresses the prevalent issue of church shopping, which reveals a weightier problem in the North American Christian context. As academic research is scarce on this topic, the study seeks to provide insight into the problem. It proposes a practical ministry strategy for small churches to move beyond a victim mindset and refocus on witnessing Jesus Christ.

Degree Date

Fall 12-16-2023

Document Type


Degree Name





Dr. James Lee

Second Advisor

Dr. Harold Recinos

Third Advisor

Dr. Elias Lopez

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License