“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves as is the habit of some but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:23-25
I just did something I’ve only done one other time in twenty-two years of pastoral ministry; I cancelled church on a Sunday Morning. The roads were just so treacherous that the risk of driving to church would have been greater than the foreseeable problems of staying home. Our weekly gatherings are so important for spiritual growth and encouragement that it really bothers me when I have to cancel one of them. But then again, I would miss my brothers and sisters a lot more, if I had to wait until glory to see them.
A local church is a closely knit spiritual family, and that’s how it should be. Gathering together on Sundays is the highlight of our week. We greet one another with holy hugs; we help each other in our walk with the Lord; we notice when people are discouraged and invariably surround them with loving and supportive ears.
This blessing can be fully enjoyed only by congregations that are small enough for everyone to know each other. If a church is so small that it can’t afford two pastors, something is wrong, and there is a lot of room for growth, but when it becomes a city unto itself it is impossible for anyone to know all the regular attenders by name, and at that point Christianity itself cannot be done very well. Rather than trying to address the weaknesses of an oversized church with programs meant to divide the people into smaller groups within the church, it would be better to have the talented people who are crowded out of using their gifts to transfer to smaller churches where their help is needed?
When the early church had a huge and sudden growth spurt of three thousand souls in one day, the apostles didn’t build bigger and “better” facilities to accommodate them. They went house to house establishing local congregations and providing ministry face to face. Those sister-house-churches that were formed in Jerusalem were then able to network together for a massive outreach to the thousands of worshipers who came to the temple mount every day. In my opinion our commercialized American-style evangelicalism needs to get back to the Bible and do Christianity the way it was meant to be done.
Senior Pastor, Scott Lake Baptist Church
Senior Pastor Jon Knapp M.Div. Th.M. graduated from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in 1995. He loves people and preaches relevant and original sermons straight from the Bible every week.