It’s been said that the person who belongs to a small church lives in a much larger world. Seeing the same people week after week leads to friendships, many times with folk whom we wouldn’t ordinarily get to know – indeed, whom we might initially have so little in common with that we would’ve never met anyplace other than at church. This diversity can be rewarding. It can open our minds and make us deeper, more thoughtful and less rigid human beings.
Small congregations force us to get along with one another. They compel us to understand where other people are coming from and civilly settle our differences, which can be of immense value in the larger world.
Small congregations keep us accountable. You can’t miss too many Sundays before someone calls or drops by just to make sure everything’s OK. We think twice about skipping Sunday services – not just because we miss out on worship, but because of the people who will be disappointed if we’re not there.
Large churches get this - as attested by their emphasis on small groups. In fact, the biggest trend in the mega-church world is multi-site congregations – the establishment of much smaller satellite campuses that promote intimacy and closer relationships.
The Episcopal Church is a small church haven. 80% of our congregations host 150 people or less on Sunday mornings. The vast majority of Episcopalians are converts (70%), and a great many of us came from much larger churches. Many of us joined because of the size. We realize we are created for relationships. We were made for deep, intimate and sacred relationship, not just with the Lord, but with each other. Christianity isn’t just about me and Jesus. It’s about me and Jesus and you.
In what ways has your small congregation deepened your faith? Leave a post for the group to respond.