New Year’s Resolutions…tons made, many already broken. The big TV media campaign urging Catholics to “Come Home” is worth note … I’m seeing many struggle with the ads, terms used, not because they are lost Catholics... No, no … quite the contrary, they were never part of any faith community. Then the monumental choice before the urge passes: Big or Small?
First I have to say I’m extreeeeemely prejudice—I deny my title, and definitely love both venues!! How is that possible? Believe it or not, it doesn’t take rocket science to contemplate (although I can debate on that subject as well). The only elements are an open mind, a willing heart, and a dedication to something bigger than ourselves.
Before written off as a dreamer, I’m also a realist. Faith Assembly challenges loom at every intersection. If something doesn’t change, most small churches will continue to blend, close doors, or barely limp along. Many large churches have lost their flavor as well, i.e. enter a millennial generation that has an entirely different perspective of faith.
When it comes to the small white steeple church, Colleagues say
“There is NO future in a small church…”
“Why do you invest in something so backward…”
“The lack of change is frustrating…”
Maybe you’ve heard similar comments??
When it comes to the MegaChurch, Colleagues say
“It’s too big and impersonal… You’re just 1 of 1000’s…”
“They don’t actually talk about the bible…”
“It’s nice to not have to commit… I can wander in and out, no one knows…”
Maybe you’ve said or heard some of the same things??
Stereotypes have merit in some truth…yet are we overlooking vibrant options that don’t fit the mold? Don’t let your prompting to get fully connect with God, be dampened by the naysayers around you. True friends not just colleagues will want you to be fulfilled spiritually! Without an faith outlet, your vain attempts are more like an athlete who tries to run a marathon without practice. When the trials come, you will fail miserably.
Instead consider the attributes of each type:
1)FIND Security & Comfort in long practiced sacraments (rest in the simplicity).
2)FIND an Extended Family (while the numbers may not define cultural success, I see a great deal of Care and concern for each other). Didn’t the 1st century church start in households??
3)Consider it a challenge to FIND something in each message, person, and song. It’s OK to struggle with the personal unfamiliar, when others find joy in the time honored.
4) FIND your Real Self – You can’t hide in a small church. A great opportunity to be all that you can be, or simply let it all hang out=Warts and all. After all, a few dozen souls are < than your fb inventory.
5)FIND your Strength – Don’t over commit, yet try on new roles. Never know, you just might like that dreaded nursery duty. Small numbers allow for that grace factor.. In fact, you might find out you’re an ACE that was too afraid to try.
6)FIND your Voice – It’s OK to challenge the status quo (consider the good for the whole body of Believers, not just your preference). It’s not about the building, but the community.
7)FIND Generational Interaction – I don’t know about you, but I want my grandchildren to be able to talk and interact with someone who has survived the great depression, the holocaust, been in WWII ….
1)Being part of high ENERGY (music, drama, media…) connects with us at the very core.
2)Being part of the large allows for BIGGER Community IMPACT. The vibrant community still maintain the BEST of stewardship, stretching those $$ for real work vs. driving the most luxurious benefits…
3)Being part of an ever evolving population, allows for many Options (missions, ministries, studies, series, …)
4)Being part of a large entity requires EXCELLENCE. One will either strive to be the BEST, or sit on the sidelines. Many of us need to be humbled=you can’t always be the biggest fish in the pond, and you just might learn a valuable lesson from an accomplished professional.
5)Being part is a challenge in itself to Connection, but well worth it! Finding a small group that can help you do life with, might be as easy as getting on that computer bulletin board and taking a chance!
6)Being part of a large body lends to offer Big, if not the Biggest of Biblical Inspiration. I love that the leadership at both of Cincinnati’s largest faith entities constantly challenge their populations to Godly action. They are not sitting idly on past successes, they strive for much more!
7)Being part of a Network: The Mega-movement in our city has seen the large successfully reaching out to the small. They could keep their resources and findings to themselves, yet time and time again there has been a huge effort to share the wealth: Fall Journey, CitiLink, City Gospel Mission, Thanksgiving Packages, Cincinnati Hospice, Whiz Kids, ….
The Christmas holidays have so much beauty, music, lights, family gatherings…. Even the snow can bond us to home and/or a place of enlightenment. Why wait until the next holiday to link your talents to something that really matters?
Including FAITH in your 2013 resolutions can lead to more peace, hope, and fulfillment. Don’t allow excuses to get in the way…. And don’t allow a few (even a few dozen) awful visits to deter you from your mission. Sometimes you have to date a few duds, before you find that gem! There is a FAITH community out there that WANTs you, NEEDS you, & is growing the kingdom—Don’t stop until you find that right chemistry!!