I live in an ecomomically depressed area. There is a lot of spiritual oppression here, also. Two little old church buildings stand empty. The remaining churches are unable to pay for full time pastors. There are no live bands, often not even an organist. The church I went to before moving here wasn't quite a "mega-church", but it was big, bustling... There was often "special music" and "special speakers". The little church I go to now, It doesn't seem very "special" on first viewing. The congregation is small, and largely older adualts (but- praise the Lord, we have got several children coming out just in the past year!) There aren't a lot of programs. On the surface it doesn't seem like there's much going on. But this little church has a lot of love in it. The people don't have much money, but they're generous with what they have. The third week's offering is designated to help poor families in the area. And they donate much food to the local pantry. The best thing about this little church, though, is the love and patience they show. I have brought several foster children over the years, and the kids have been so warmly welcomed! These children are not "church kids", they don't know any of the expectations or ways of doing things. But people gently come alongside them and teach them, and "love them better" when they hurt. Maybe God gives gifts to churches, as well as individuals. And this little old church in the sticks, I think it has the gifts of teaching and loving.
Marjorie, isn't that a huge part of what the "church" is all about! You are blessed to have found this congregation, as they are blessed to have you.
Great blog. A reminder to us all.
The church I attend is small, also. Many times we are simply unable to do more programs or activities because the people we do have are overextended with the church tasks we already have. There is simply no more we can handle. But I truly believe that it is in such a church, where people are loving and gently teaching, where God does His most beautiful work and where He is the most evident. Kind of like when God told Gideon he had to pare down his army or they would think they had won the battle themselves instead of giving credit to God.
I admire small churches for a number of reasons. I know as I'm writing this I am not being biased because I myself is a member of a comparably small church. There's a great challenge if a church is run by a single pastor family; being able to maintain the fellowship with limited resources is a big achievement. For me, there is also a deeper closeness in small churches. You really get to know most of your members well. And yeah, God's work becomes more evident in every service we have. For the past years, we have been transferring from one place to another because we do not have a permanent residence - from the house of a church member and now to a rented room in a public primary school. We do not have the best of instruments, either. But despite these, we have devoted members, that is the young people. We are in the music ministry and God has been using us in that area. And I am proud to say that we have conducted concerts in far flung areas in the region. I could type away what we've been through, but I guess the point is that (as we all know), the people are the ones making up the church. And when you praise & worship God together and become one in spirit, feeling His presence -- it's one of the best life experiences you could ever go through.
I also like the simplicity of a small close knitted church, just like the one you described and is attending. Surely it also gives you ample opportunity to serve God which you would otherwise unable when in a bigger church.I like the personal touch of a small congregation.
Thanks for sharing. I feel blessed by your blog.
Small churches with much love often grow bigger. Praise the Lord.. in His time, He draws others in.
Would to God that when big churches grow to an optimum size, they will give birth to new ones so that challenge to minister is maintained and spread around instead of remaining with only a few while others are in just for the ride.
Amen. Or when the big churches have small groups and ministries, that can work well, also. It's nice having big churches for revival meetings & things that need lots of room. It's all about finding God's direction & following.
marjorie, I left one comment that just disappeared. I was raised in the country, and enjoy the small church family atmosphere. The last 20 years or so I have been in a city church, different, yet the same, in a lot of ways. If God is there and moving, the same happens in all of them. Weren't many in that jail-cell in Acts as they praised God and worshipped, but that did not stop Him from moving in a big way. I enjoyed, thanks for bringing back some precious memories. God Bless, Billy
My late husband pastored a small church for 13 years. However people who heard him speak said it seemed like he was preaching to hundreds of people. This wasn't because of the volume but the passion and wisdom with which he spoke. I watched him for years as he enthusiastically prepared to go to church each Sunday. He had a pastor's heart caring for the needs of his little flock. He faithfully preached the Word.
I learned so much about myself. I was not raised in a small church and had a difficult time for a few years trying to adjust to what I called a micro-mini church. However I came to the realization that it did not matter whether the church was small we were serving God. We had to take care of our part of the vineyard. Thanks for sharing your story. Trician
I also go to a small church. I've been going to my church for about 10 years now. And I've seen major changes. When I first started going we were still small, but an average small I would say. We had a large enough youth group that we could get stuff done, and still knew each other pretty well. Over the years though our congregation has shrunk considerably. We have gone through a few pastors, and spent a few months years if you add up all the time, with out a pastor.
I have stuck with my church because I love it. It has brought a roller coaster of emotions though. I will admit that at times I was probably embarrassed. I heard my friends talking about awesome things going on in there church and nothing was really happening at mine. Also my junior year of high school I started teaching the youth on Wednesday nights. I absolutely loved teaching. However it got discouraging when one family was out of town for vacation and all of a sudden I really didn't even have a class any more. Or when the lesson called for what seemed like really cool activities but I knew that we didn't have enough people. Lets just say that I am pretty good at manipulating or improvising games lol. Or even when I would make out copies of worksheets for the lessons and always had extra. I made just a few more than our normal number with the hopes that we would use them all or even better run out. But even so, I would never leave my church or youth group. I do love them.
The past year however, my church has gone through a spiritual revival. We got a new pastor, and I can honestly say that I 100% adore the new pastor. I've liked all of our pastors don't get me wrong, but he just felt right. He is not afraid to tell the congregation his dreams for our churches growth. I'm sure the other pastors wanted the church to grow too. But Brother Joe tell us without a doubt. To me, since he has been here, our church has grown closer to not only each other, but to God. Every Sunday after the worship service we all go to the front and hold hands in a circle of prayer. We've come together every Sunday for the last month and cleaned our church. We had the most awesome homecoming celebration we've ever had.
The thing that really drew me to Brother Joe is that the first thing he did after becoming our pastor was to ask the kids what we wanted to see happen in the church. That really touched me. He really supports the youth. More than that he encouraged (where we couldn't refuse) the youth to get involved in dramas and choir. He had set up appointments for us to preform at other churches. And he always makes a point of telling the adults that they should support us. He called off Sunday morning service so that the church could come support us as we performed at another churches Youth Sunday. Every single member of the church went to support us. That could not happen at a bigger church. I really respect Brother Joe.
Don't get me wrong, our church hasn't grown in numbers really yet. But the emotional and spiritual growth of our church has been amazing. I'm so excited about the things happening. And honestly, I can honestly say now that I really appreciate going to a small church. I think small churches are awesome!