Yesterday Jerry and I visited a small church down in the country. Last year we had a remarkable young woman serve as an intern at our church during her senior year at seminary. This small church 30 miles from here is her first assignment as a pastor. We loved Heather and couldn't wait to see and hear her in her very own church.
When I say a small church I mean that on any given Sunday they might have 60 or 70 in worship. Yesterday Heather's family was there as well as four of us from her former church so we really swelled the ranks! Jerry and I attend a large church where there might be two or three hundred at each of three services so this was a very different environment for us at this point in our lives. We've lived in small towns many times and been members of small churchs but none quite this small. And oh how I love a small church!
Everyone there knew we were visitors immediately - because everyone there knows everyone else there. They are family in the truest sense of the word. The good, the bad, the ugly....makes no difference in a small church. You are who you are and who you are is good because you are part of the family. Everyone knew who was sick and who had a death in their family and why this person wasn't in church this Sunday and why that person needed a visit and a prayer. And as I sat there listening to this incredible loving service I thought....this is just how it was after Jesus died and the communities of God were meeting in their homes and beside the rivers and in hidden places. They were a family, a community of God.
What kind of church do you go to? Oh I don't mean the denomination because I don't think that matters - I'm pretty sure there won't be denominations in Heaven. I mean is it large or small? Is it a place where everyone is loved and accepted and welcomed and prayed over? Is it your family? If it's not, what can you do to help it change and become a family? Have you thought about that? Do you love small churchs like I do?