One of the more exciting events in my life lately, is the fact that I had an article published in the July/August edition of Faith Today magazine. For any who might not know, Faith Today is published by The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. If you are part of a small church, you might want a copy. I hope that you will find it encouraging.
The Faith Today staff chose the title for the article and I love it. It is entitled The beautiful gift of small churches. As I return to blog writing I couldn’t think of a better topic for my first blog.
Beauty is often missed
A small flower blooming just off the walking path is missed by hundreds of walkers too wrapped up in their own thoughts to see the beauty of God’s design.
A small child playing quietly by herself in the corner is ignored by a room full of adults too busy to notice the wonder of the human creation.
A small prism unnoticed by everyone creates a beautiful rainbow when the sun shines on it.
A small church in a small-town setting is often overlooked) even though it is a place where God is worshiped, lives are changed, and members are cared for.
Beauty often gets missed just because it is contained in a small container.
Beauty comes in many different forms
A new-born baby, a teenage girl heading out to her first prom, a bride on her wedding day, a new mother holding her first child: All are beautiful. They just take different forms.
A sunset on the lake, a star-filled sky at night, a rugged mountain landscape, a city sky line: All are beautiful. They just take different forms.
A cold winter day, the first sign of green in the spring, the warmth of a summer day, the colours of the Canadian autumn: All are beautiful. They just take different forms.
A large regional mega-church with thousands of attenders, a suburban medium-sized church on the edge of the city, a small church in a small-town, a rural church surrounded by fields of hay. All are beautiful. They just take different forms.
It isn’t the size of the building or the number of programs that make a church beautiful. It is the fact that Jesus Christ is present whenever and wherever the church meets.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
One of the vivid memories that I have of my wedding day was the moment when Gloria stood in the door to the sanctuary about to begin her walk down the aisle. I remember looking back at her and thinking that she was the most beautiful woman in the world. We celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary in June and I have never changed my mind. I still marvel that anyone so beautiful could have agreed to marry me and has stuck with me for 48 years.
As I have grown older though, I have come to realize that my view of Gloria might be somewhat biased. I have come to appreciate that while I think she is beautiful, there are many other husbands who look at their wives and think that they are beautiful too. Reality is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I want to leave you with a challenge. Take a sheet of paper and a pen or sit down in front of your computer or whatever it is that you do when you want to make a list and write out the 12 things that you most appreciate about your church. Here is my list for the church that I attend:
- My church is beautiful because Jesus dwells there.
- My church is beautiful because it is loved by Jesus.
- My church is beautiful because of the people who are part of it.
- My church is beautiful because it gives me a place for corporate worship.
- My church is beautiful because there are people who care about me.
- My church is beautiful because it has produced a lot of young people who have gone into full-time Christian ministry
- My church is beautiful because it has a deep interest in missions.
- My church is beautiful because it is the only evangelical church in town.
- My church is beautiful because it provides my wife and me with a place to serve.
- My church is beautiful because it has a commitment to the authority of God’s word.
- My church is beautiful because relationships matter.
Once your list is complete read it every morning for a month. Saturate yourself with the beauty of the church that you attend.
Then tell someone else what it is that you love about your church. There is nothing quite like sharing the good things in our lives such as the beautiful gift of a small church!
If you attend a small church, don’t miss its beauty. Acknowledge it and share it with the world.