"Bigger is better," shouts the world.
The bigger the building, the bigger the dollar sign, the bigger the ego;
Bigger is Better.
I feel like I've fought this battle of being small my whole life.
Specifically when it comes to church.
I grew up in a small church. We're talking 100ish for Sunday mornings.
I loved that church, and am thankful I grew up there, but even while we were there my family and I would wonder and discuss if there was something we were missing, specifically when it came to a lack of youth group stuff for us as teenagers.
Fast forward to now, after we got married, Jason and I felt called to be at New Hope, the church he grew up in. New Hope is also a small church, maybe even a bit smaller than even the church I grew up in. I LOVE New Hope. It's a true church to me, full of humble people, not there to show off, and the heart of that church is to seek Jesus, and THAT is the MOST important thing. But still, the bigger is better bug still bites me sometimes.
And boy did it bite hard tonight, when two of our youth (we have around 10 on Wed nights) told us, through many tears, that their family is leaving the church. The reason...because they want their kids to have a bigger youth group. Ouch.
Jason and I discussed this big v. small church thing on the very sad car ride home. He so wisely reminded me that there are good things about both big and small churches, and that no matter where you choose to go, you will sacrifice something. I'll admit, there are things I really wish our church had, but I don't know that I would trade them for the intimacy and authenticity that I feel there. There is no perfect church, no matter what the size. Our youth group may not be big and flashy, and our numbers may not be anything to brag about. But tonight, those two precious girls gave us the biggest encouragement of all. They said that they've never felt closer to God than the time they had spent there, and I praise HIM for that.
Over the summer, we took our group (a total of nine) to camp. We were, by far, the smallest group. In fact, there was a huge church group of 200 there that definitely made their presence known at all times. This other group was your quintessential chaco-wearing, frat-boy haircut, pearl-earrings-with-workout-shorts youth group. While our group is made up of the best kids ever (and no I'm not biased), many of them come from very difficult backgrounds and live very humbly. At times I could tell the kids were fighting this same battle, of being insignificant, unimportant, small. But then, our last night at camp, we had a bonfire, and I saw seven teenagers truly connect with a BIG, HUGE, VAST, and INFINITE God. And there is nothing small about that.