Thursday, January 27, 2011

They are NOT Redundant

So the churches were strengthened in the faith,
and they increased in numbers daily.

Acts 16:5

Not sure why, but the other day I googled “churches for sale.” Up on the screen popped as one of the options, “churches for sale, chapels and schools, redundant churches. . .” It was the word redundant that riveted my eyes. It means superfluous, exceeding what is necessary, in other words, something we could do without.

In my small, semi-rural community of 50,000 we have over 45 churches and I don’t live in the Bible belt! But, in my capacity as the director of a local pregnancy center I decided to go down my faith based, non-profit’s church list and worship with one or two for the next several Sundays. From my start on January 9 I have worshipped with six congregations. One Anglican church met in the recreation center, an “under the radar” church met in a home, a college lecture hall gathered students on Sunday evening. Another Sunday afternoon I stomped through the snow to worship with a PCA group that rented their sanctuary from the Southern Baptists. There was a petite Baptist church that was trying its hand at a video series for their Sunday School class. And then there was the Pentecostal church.

I’m far from my quest but so far I haven’t found a one of them redundant.

What I am discovering is that while the church culture has changed dramatically from my first remembering, there is good stuff happening. It’s true that those who are staying true to form and function are smaller in size and whiter in hair. While those worshipping bodies that are moving away from the rules and regs of structure have a larger number of youngish people but also include a number of white polka dots scattered throughout!

But thing of it is – they are all stretching, reaching, growing in the Kingdom. Whether they pray ancient prayers or speak in tongues their focus is on the same Father, the same Son and the same Holy Spirit. With each visit I have been blessed, encouraged and strengthened.

Our community couldn’t do without one of these churches! Size doesn’t really matter as long as each believing, worshipping group is strengthened in their faith and they respond by reaching out, bringing a daily numbers increase in the Kingdom.

Six down thirty-nine to go!

Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
Rain down Your blessings on these Your people!

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