Members at a recent service.
Community of Grace is tiny. We have eight members. Count 'em. Eight. We have people who attend on occasion, but it is these eight that are the regulars. For a while, that bothered the pastors, because we wanted the church to be this "growing" church. Some of us might have even thought we would be a mainline Protestant version of a mega-church.
But that hasn't happened, and it has led the staff to be depressed.
On May 11, the church had a meeting just to find out where we are at. Over and over again, the message seemed to be that maybe it's okay to be a small church for now. Jim, our moderator, chided the staff (me included) for being so caught up in the numbers game. In his eyes, we were doing fine.
I have to say, hearing all this took a ton off my shoulders. For a while, I felt we had to be this growing church, like all the stories I hear about other new church starts and have hundreds in worship with a paid staff and anything short of that would be a failure. But Jim was reminding us of that old "where two or three are gathered" line. God's Spirit is still with us even when we are small in number.
I think I'm more than fine with CoG being a small church, even a nanochurch. Maybe in this time of bigness that has filtered into church life, there needs to be space for small communities of faith.
At that May 11 meeting, some commented that people who have visited in the past didn't like the smallness. They wanted to be anonymous; to come and worship without being known. Frankly, I don't understand that kind of worship. I mean, is that even church? Church to me is about community, it's about a group of people that are there for you when times our rough and celebrate when things go well.
Community of Grace will never reach those kind of people. But I do believe we can be a place for people who want to be part of an intimate community that worship, prays, laughs and cries together.
I came accross this interesting article about Micro Churches and realized that this is what Community of Grace is all about.
Small can be good.