We recently had a visitor at our Friday night Youth Service. He was a pre-teenage boy who is the neighbor of some of our church members. Along with his mother, he attends one of the biggest black churches in Los Angeles.
Our church building can seat 150 people maximum, and we probably had about 25 people at Youth Service that night. A lot of big church attendees might think of us as puny.
But this young man was amazed. His neighbor told us on Sunday how excited he was to tell his mother about the service. "They had little kids up in front leading the songs and reading Scriptures! And the pastor shook my hand!" His mother said that that was the part he kept talking about over and over. The pastor of the church shook his hand.
It reaffirmed to me that there is a place in the world for small churches. Bishop Noel Jones doesn't know that this kid exists. But when he visits our dinky little church, he is somebody.
Back when I was in midwifery school, we worked with a patient who was having trouble handling everything in her one-week postpartum life. Baby, housework, and her physical recovery were wearing her out (we tell all the ladies to forget about the housework, but cooking and laundry never go away). Her mother worked full time, her husband wasn't into "women's work" (grrrrrrr . . . ), and she had no other support system. We knew she was a Christian, so we asked her, "Don't you have any friends at church who could drop by to help you out?" She said, "No, the church we go to is so big that we don't know anybody there."
I violated my school's usual principles of professionalism and invited her to my church (my preceptor said later that she agreed that it was appropriate in that situation). It turned out that she had seen my church before; it's close to where her mother lives. When I described the location, she said, "Oh, you mean that small church."
She never visited. Maybe she found some support at the Faith Dome. I hope so.