My first experience as a member of the United Methodist Church was at Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas. A little overwhelmed by the size and unsure of Methodist theology, I joined the staff. While in ministry at Resurrection, God called me to “preach from the pulpit of small United Methodist churches,” and I left the staff to pursue Lay Speaking in 2011.
Much to my surprise, I immediately fell in love with small churches. I have found many reasons to value small churches, three of the main reasons include these:
Small churches are personal -- People notice your presence and your absence. People are known. Prayer requests are often out loud and in the moment. Faith grows in real, personal relationships.
Small churches are typically down-to-earth –Jesus was down-to-earth. Humble and simple are words that should describe a church. A small church, especially a struggling small church, seems to have a leg up when it comes to humility. Humility is foundational to faith.
In small churches, the hard work is done by the congregants – Mowing the grass. Making coffee. Planting a garden. Opportunity for hands on ministry for a home church builds a sense of community and people become invested in their church. This is faith in action.
Maybe instead of joining small groups, some of the people in big churches should join a small church. What if the next big thing is … small?
Julie Schropp is the Kansas City District director of Lay Servant Ministries.