Don't let the difficulties of the present moments overshadow the reality of God's promises. God's promises still stand. And God's promises are stronger than our failures.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Down In The Country

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?


Amelia said...

Our church is small by some measures - but still too large to get to know everyone real well. Our Sunday morning attendance is around 400 - give or take. Small churches are wonderful - but we should want them to grow as God's wonderful message has led people to join.

Enjoy the blessings you receive this week.

Becky said...

I have been a part of all sizes of churches. Right now (for the last 9 years) we have been members of a mega-church. We have 3 services with an average of 2,000 worshippers a weekend. The praise and worship is totally awesome, the messages are so meaningful. The hugeness of the church is balanced by encouragement to belong to a small group. I'm part of a women's Bible study that is like a bunch of sisters. My husband is in the worship team rotation (percussion)and they function as a small group as well.
My favorite childhood memories are of the country church of my paternal grandparents, with about 30 folks on a good day!

Lena . . . said...

You have truly inspired me. My next entry is going to be about my church. Thanks.

Adrienne said...

So glad you could visit and be part of the wonders of a small church. We attend a church of 500-600 on Sunday, split between two services. In our earlier days my sweetheart was the pastor of three small churches and I love the sense of true community. I long to go somewhere to a small country church and throw my energies and passion into the heart and life of the church and the people there. Maybe someday we will do that again. Until then - we are content where God has placed us!

Christine said...

Good heavens, where I come from 60-70 people would be a lot! I can't even imagine 500-600 people. There aren't even that many people in town.

Valerie said...

I think our church has 500-600 on a Sunday morning but we are close like a family. If something happens to someone we usually know so we can help or pray.

Anonymous said...

In the past, I attended a small church where the congregation was definitely like family. Those years were special and I very much miss that church. Things are different now; we attend a larger church in a new contemporary building and the feeling is not even close to comparable.