Monday, April 23, 2012

A Big Church

When Josh and I were living in Bolivar, MO during our college days at SBU, which isn't far from Springfield (oh, how I loved Springfield), I would occasionally hear commercials about James River Assembly.  It is a massive church, so big that recently they opened another location where they stream the service from the original location to the new location.  What I remember is hearing the line, "A big church that seems small."

I wondered how that was possible.  I mean, I sort of thought of how that would work, but I did wonder how someone could not just remain lost in the shuffle of hundreds and hundreds of people.

Fast forward about ten years, and now I get it.

We are a part of a large church, one that isn't massive like James River, but one that is very large for our area.  I believe the 10:30 service usually has 400 - 500 people, and that's just one of three services (the other two aren't as big, but I'd guess a few hundred at 9:15...not sure about 8:00).

And here's what I figured have to be intentional about being involved if you want to be a part of a large church.  A huge part of feeling a since of belonging (in my opinion) is being a part of our small group (some churches call them life groups).  I also loved being a part of MOPS (I've been away for a bit from when I worked...but might just have to get back to it this fall).  And when my kids are involved, it allows me to meet other parents, and friendships are formed there, too!

Not to mention, it is a huge blessing and honor to be able to sing on our worship team.  It's great to find something you love doing and something that gives glory to God at the same time.  That's why I take it seriously as I wrote about in this post.

During the two years we've been a part of Greentree, I have seen how being a part of my church family has blessed us specifically.

 Like when I see my children loving their classes and teachers...

Caleb holding up the number 8 as his 1st grade Sunday
School class sings "The Perfect 10"

Or when Josh's grandma passed away and members from our small group sent us flowers...

I thought these were just so pretty and thoughtful.

My small group put together a surprise baby shower for me and Josh!  It was so sweet, and I love surprises! :)

Hillary and Kim from our small group...this was a special
night to me, it was so fun!

When I needed to take Leah to her first pediatrician appointment, a friend from church said she would keep Sarah and Gabriel for me!

Sarah in the middle with Daisy (left) and Elena (right) as my
sweet friend Lajoie watched my kiddos.  They had a tea party!

When friends visited me in the hospital...

Jana and I are on worship team together, but she's just a great
friend, too!  She also came to see me and pray for me when I
was in the hospital with pancreatitis and gall bladder issues.
Carisma and Bryan...our small group leaders.  Love them!

I don't have pictures, but I am also so thankful for those who have brought dinner to us after having a baby!  I'm not sure where that idea originated from, but I'm glad there are churches that do this, and ours is one! :)

You may be thinking, "My church is just like yours!"  Good!  It should be! :) I guess I was just thinking of the times I've heard people say they couldn't be a part of a church "that big" and I wondered why.  I mean, if you want to be lost in the shuffle (I do think some want it that way) then you most certainly can be.  But if you want to plug in, you can most certainly do that, too.  The size of a church doesn't keep it from ministering to it's members.  If anything, church growth means the church is doing something right!

"I go to a BIG Church, but it's made up of SMALL GROUPS. Little churches within a church. We are like little families that grow, learn, fight, eat, pray and mourn together. My small group has been BUSY lately. New Jobs, new houses, new babies, marriages, and even new songs released!! It's good to be linked up with a group of friends that you love and love you back."  -Bryan

Among other things, this status update from Bryan got me to thinking about writing this post.  I'm glad he said it, I agree wholeheartedly.

What makes your church feel like family?  

Have you ever thought you couldn't be a part of a large church?


Kassie said...

I have to admit that I have been one of those people who said " I could never go to a big church" and Ive also known people who would only go to a "big" church for status but as for me and my opinion now days.... I think you should go where God tells you to go! :-) Big or small... people should seek God, find a church and then get involved. Ive been to smaller churches where people felt "lost in the crowd" because they werent involved. My current church has one service and runs probly 400-500 and the friends I have met have been through, bible study, small group, choir etc.....

Im so glad you have such an awesome church no matter the size! :-)

Mellissa Rose said...

My husband and I have gone to a large church and I disliked it. We don't have children and it was hard to figure out all the many groups. We tend to be a bit shy and we got lost. We never felt like we fit however we didn't really make a real effort.

We now attend a small church (around 125) and love it. My husband helps lead worship, I teach in the children's church and help with the nursery. We help plan the church's events and love it.

And I now feel that if someone new comes through the doors, I can help make that person feel welcome.

Your church sounds wonderful - what a great group of people!

Lyssa at Living Simple in the South said...

HI there! You dont know me, but I am a reader of Ashleys and your title caught my eye while I was visiting her! And I just wanted you to know that I think this is a GREAT POST!
We have found a wonderful church here in San Antonio and you are right about the amount of effort it takes to feel like you belong, but oh what a blessing when you have a church family!
Just wanted to let you know I enjoyed this and it spoke to my heart!
I see you are adjusting to another sweet baby! I come from a family of four and it was the best way to grow up I think! Except I was the only girl ;)

Post a Comment