Visit to smaller member church brings hope
As I look at the title of this article I am reminded of what one person has said, that there are no small churches in God’s eyes.
God looks at the size of the heart for Himself, obedience of the worshippers, and respect of the worshippers toward God. Each church, regardless of the numbers sitting in the pews, comprises the Bride of Christ and the Body of Christ in that location.
I had the privilege of worshipping in a church recently that had 58 in Sunday School and close to 100 in worship. Walking into the building there was a sense that God was there and that something good was going to happen. The songs were from the 1975 Baptist Hymnal and the music was played on a piano and organ, with no screen with words and no videos or PowerPoints. Some by this time may be yawning and wondering how worship could take place. However, real and authentic worship did occur.
There were two baptisms of adults and the next week there will be two more baptisms. When the children’s time came there were 29 children that came up front and a layman from the church presented a simple biblical truth and the children and adults were blessed by the parable of the 10 virgins waiting for the bridegroom to come. The pastor preached a message without the aid of video or PowerPoint but connected with the congregation and involved them in the message.
After the service was over I asked the pastor, “Where did all the people come from? Why do they stay?”
“I ask folks who come why they come, and why they join or at least keep coming,” he said. “They reply, ‘We sense God’s presence and we feel genuinely loved by the folks who are there.’ I cannot explain it. It is a God thing.”
One may be thinking that this church is the exception to the rule. Maybe it is. I would like to believe that this church is the standard bearer for others to follow. My recent experience worshipping in this smaller membership church has given me hope about our smaller membership churches.
There may be hundreds of churches like the one I described. These smaller membership churches are led by pastors who may be students, bi-vocational, or retired; their heart, soul, and energy are in helping the Bride of Christ reach a lost and dying world with the love of Jesus. They are churches that take the Great Commission seriously and arrange the life of the church to be on mission with the Savior.
I am looking forward to my next visit to a smaller membership church here in Missouri. (George Roach is Missouri Baptist Convention ministerial services specialist.)