In the mid-1970s, Park Avenue Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee, was packed with nearly 2,000 people on Sunday mornings. But attendance dwindled as families shifted to new congregations in the suburbs.
The church was on the verge of closing when it began hosting Cross Point Church, a fast-growing congregation that became one of Nashville’s megachurches.
The partnership helped Park Avenue maintain its location near the heart of the city—a site well suited for nontraditional ministries, says pastor Patrick Hamilton.
The church helps immigrants learn English, offers a Celebrate Recovery program, and hosts an inner-city after-school ministry, providing space and utilities at no cost. This spring, the congregation plans to adopt a low-income apartment community.
Though attendance has rebounded to 125 after dipping to 60 two years ago, Park Avenue continues leasing half of its property to another church.
“Having two churches on one campus has been beneficial for both parties,” Hamilton says. “The power of God is mightily displayed through a small church.”
This is one of the small church profiles from the cover story, “The Power of Small: Church Size No Barrier to Thinking Big.”
LISA CANNON GREEN (Lisa.Green@Lifeway.com) is managing editor of Facts & Trends.