Ministry Spotlight: The Gathering

I see us being the incubator for an organic church planting movement.

John Hulen’s church is in his home. Actually, his church is wherever its congregants are.

Hulen is the founder and leader of The Gathering in Kansas City. The church—now two years old—is run out of Hulen’s home. While most churches have very humble beginnings—meeting in homes, school buildings, coffee shops, etc.—before moving into a larger church building, the only move planned for the Gathering is into a new home. As he anticipates future growth, Hulen and his wife, Kristin, are considering a move to a larger home.

Presently, the Gathering has approximately 12 people on any given Sunday. Hulen says that it has provided him with an intimacy and freedom that he never found
in the “traditional” churches at which he ministered in the past. “When you fall into patterns and formulas, you get away from what you’re supposed to be doing,” he says.

Due to its small size and home setting, the Gathering doesn’t always start on time. In fact, it doesn’t even meet on Sundays. “One of the nice things about doing it the way we do is that we don’t have a set time,” Hulen says. “We have some fluidity.”

Sometimes their church runs like most other churches—worship music and a sermon. Other times, they’ve gone to a local park to pick up trash. Or they’ve watched a Nooma video and discussed it.

At 35, Hulen is the oldest congregant at his church. The youngest (not including children) is 21 years old.

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Hulen thinks that house churches, or “organic churches,” are becoming increasingly popular among today’s twentysomething generation that wants to seek God but avoid religion.

“I see us being the incubator for an organic church planting movement,” Hulen says, “starting in the Midwest and exploding across the United States.

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