More and more I am growing to appreciate small churches. Maybe it’s because I’m short. Or maybe I just like rooting for the underdog. Or maybe it’s because I see God wonderfully at work in so many of those small churches.
I recently had the privilege of visiting the Baptist Church of a small town in a rural part of our state. What I saw was a beautiful picture of God’s kingdom, a scaled-down version of what many larger churches only dream about.
- Community – During their worship service, this church paused for a time of personal sharing of life’s celebrations and challenges. They demonstrated vulnerability and real concern. It was evident they shared authentic relationships. Aren’t all churches looking for this kind of community?
- Commitment – The church had just finished a successful week of Vacation Bible School. To pull it off, everyone needed to be involved. In a small church, bystanders and onlookers are rare. Each member must serve in order for the church to be healthy and vibrant. Aren’t all churches looking for this kind of member commitment?
- Mission – Many years ago, this small, rural church chose to partner with the Fellowship. Since then, the congregation has engaged in mission efforts through CBF, not just with money but with time, energy and people. Not just locally but in other states and even in other countries. Aren’t all churches looking for this kind of mission engagement?
I attend a larger church in the suburbs, but I know that most of the churches in my state are small and in rural settings. These small churches may not have all the facilities and programs the larger churches enjoy. But many of them have something more valuable: a loving family committed to being the presence of Christ in their community and around the world. That’s huge.
“The attendance gap between megachurches and most Protestant churches is striking. The median U.S. church has 75 regular participants in worship on Sundays. Only 5 percent of the nation’s churches have an average of more than 500 churchgoers on a weekend.” “Going Mega” by John Dart in “The Christian Century” July 27, 2010
I am glad that Jesus Christ is the LORD OF THE CHURCH whether big or small. When sociology, demographics, culture leads the church instead of the guidance of the Holy Spirit and a good biblical foundation. Christianity in the West may decline while
“the churches of the South”–Africa, Asia, and Latin America–are coming to our shores to try to “become the Church.”