One growing segment in the US religious landscape is the city start-up church. Ministers and church leaders are tapping into an entrepreneurial culture to form a number of new congregations. These may be planted churches supported by established denominations. More often, however, these churches are nondenominational and begin with ministers who feel the call to organize independently or are loosely supported by one or more established churches.
These groups generally take a nontraditional view towards their worship service and as they grow, they utilize the latest in high tech sound, video, and lighting. They also, by necessity take a nontraditional approach to their facilities and often occupy commercial or industrial spaces. They frequently locate in places that allow flexibility to accommodating a growing number of worshippers and ministry activities. When a ministry outgrows a space, it often moves quickly to a new location, leaving the rented facility behind.
I found out about Austin Powerhouse Church after it left the rental space near our office. I’m not sure how many years the congregation used their space on William Cannon Drive but it looks to have been empty for a while. The sign on the front door caught my eye, right next to the realtor’s sign in the window. This told me that Austin Power House quite possibly had become a statistic - a third of start up churches fail within the first four years. Or it could mean, like many of God’s creatures, it shed its skin to make room for a newer and bigger home. Scientists call this “ecdysis.” If that was the story, then this empty rental space was actually the old cast off skin from a growing congregation.
A quick check of the church’s website showed their current location is off of Burleson Road in South East Austin. The new space is in an industrial park area with many larger businesses and presumably larger rental spaces. The church appears to be doing fine, they even have begun a church plant of their own in San Marcos.