Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Where it All Started

I didn't grow up as a believer in Christ. Back in 2001, me and a guy I was dating went up to Show Low to visit his father for the weekend. He explained that we would be going to church up there. This little church where there were maybe 60 people and they still sung from hymn books is where I started feeling God tugging on my heart.

When I came back home, I knew I needed to explore this feeling I was getting and found a church. I found a mega church. And although I have attended a few smaller churches here and there in my spiritual walk, I tend to go for the mega churches. I am not here to complain about big churches, it's the only thing I really know to be honest. But there's something with a small church, something genuine.

This past weekend, I went to Tucson to see a dear friend. It was such a great weekend with her and her family.  Her brother preaches at a church in Tucson. The plan for Sunday was we were going to attend service and then Sunday School. The church is small, maybe 50 people will show up. And that is on a good day. The Sunday I was there, there might have been half that amount.

My friend and her husband sung the worship songs, there was no loud music, no band, no flashing lights. It was just her, her husband, two mics, background music, and words on a screen. I only knew one of the songs, but it didn't matter. In that small worship service, I felt God's presence there. The kids attended worship with us and then was dismissed before the sermon started. That was so weird to me. Coming from a mega church, it was just different how they do things.

The sermon was good. The pastor didn't try to "fluff" his sermon, he talked about scripture. Then at the end he did something I wasn't used to. He talked about praises and prayer requests from the people in their congregation. I have never heard that. Yes, a pastor may say a few here and there, but this pastor actually spent time on them. When he was finished, he asked if there was anything else that needed prayer or that we could praise about. *Gasp* And someone from the pew spoke up. *Double gasp* That doesn't happen where I come from. And it was just such a breath of fresh air to hear all of these praises and prayers.

The church is doing a Project 100. There are a few banners around the church. I asked a lady sitting in front of me what that meant. She explained that they were wanting 100 bodies sitting in those pews on Easter Sunday. I was very moved by that. Here I am, coming from a mega church with over 5,000 in attendance. And although I love Easter, I know my church will be completely packed, standing room only on that day. This precious church in Tucson was just asking for 100 people to attend their Easter service. It really put things in perspective in a good way for me. I pray God honors their prayers and that church is packed on Easter Sunday and the Sundays after that.

After church, most of the people left, then the rest of us stayed for Sunday School. I have to admit, I didn't know what to expect in Sunday school. I mean, I teach Sunday School to the kiddos, but I had absolutely no idea what to expect in adult Sunday School. Surely, there would none of me acting goofy while dancing with the kids, or no lesson that was geared towards Preschoolers and certainly no Goldfish. :) It was the first time ever that I had attended Sunday School. The pastor talked about studying God's word and how we become stronger when we continue to keep God's word close to our heart. He threw out numerous passages of scripture and had us read them. It.Was.Awesome. I loved every minute of the church, Sunday School included.

I have nothing against my church. I love my church. All churches, big and small, are not perfect. But I think when I head out to Indiana, I want to explore a smaller church. I want to experience life in a non- mega church. Although this church I attended was small, they got it. They got God. And that is really all that matters.

Our satisfaction should not just come from the "number of heads in the house" but from the number of hearts at the foot of the cross. ~Gene Williams 


SaraMarie said...

Sounds exactly like the church Peter grew up in! Every week, in their bulletin, they list specific prayer requests and praises from the congregation (about 250). Everyone knows each other and everyone helps each other. That is too difficult to do in a megachurch setting. And we have talked before about how much I feel small groups are exclusive, even cliquey. It's just not right. In Peter's childhood church, the pastor knows everyone. He is truly their shepherd. Pastors in megachurches hardly know any of their congregation. Its disconcerting--and unbiblical. I better stop now before I go into a rant!

I can't wait to hear about the church family you find in Indiana. :)

mitambien said...

The spirit of God touched my heart when I was a little girl in a tiny church. I wish I had a picture of it. Sounds like your experience was a blessing...I have been attending a church with a smaller congregation and I like it so very much... I like the quote you used.. (:

Rhawnie Sue said...

Thank you