The Rev. Derek Miller has seen the future of the church in America.
And it is small.
On a Sunday morning in early November, Miller, guitar in hand, stepped up to the microphone at Cornerstone Church of Spring Green and began singing the familiar Charles Wesley hymn “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing.”
A handful of people scattered in the sanctuary sang along, including a church elder in the front row next to a pair of young kids tapping on tambourines. By the time all the latecomers had arrived, there were 12 people in the congregation.
Things used to be different. Five years ago, when the church was at its height, as many as 100 people would show up for Sunday service. But the 2020 election, the racial reckoning after the death of George Floyd and COVID-19 have taken their toll. On a good day, if everyone shows up, there might be 30 people.
Had a really lovely time reporting on this tiny church in Wisconsin, part of the trend towards smaller congregations. https://t.co/3oa4Ffcua5
— Bob Smietana (@bobsmietana) November 18, 2021