|Photo by Tom Curtis|
Our dog weighs about 25lbs. He looks small, but he has the pull force of an animal three times his size. When we walk him, it often feels like we're the ones being taken for a stroll.
As looks can be deceiving with man's best friend, they can also lead us to misjudge other things in life.
Two weeks ago, my husband and I were searching for a church home. New to the area, we already visited a few, including a megachurch with its own bookstore, coffee shop, and stadium seating sanctuary. Although we liked this worship center and the pastor's Biblically-sound sermon, I didn't want to stop there. Maybe we could find a church with a smaller congregation.
"Let's visit a few more before we commit to anything," I suggested. To be honest, I wanted to take a couple months to decide which church to join. In the past, we've committed to churches fast because we were eager to get plugged in. Being in the Army, you want to make sure you get adjusted quickly to your new environment. But being hasty in choosing a place of worship doesn't always go so well in the long run.
Anyway, there was another church down the block that we were curious about. On the outside, it appeared to be large but not intimidating. I researched the church's website to get information on their creed and the types of ministries they have during the week. That night, hubby and I prayed that God would lead us to the right place of worship.
Sunday came and we entered the building. To our surprise, the sanctuary was a lot smaller than the architecture let on. It could seat maybe a couple hundred. That's quite a bit for some people, but remember, the building could pose as a concert hall.
"Is this okay with you?" I asked my husband. He's a Texas boy, so he's used to everything being bigger.
"It's fine," he replied, watching the worship team set up their instruments.
"Are you sure? I know you're used to really big churches. I want you to be comfortable, too."
"Honey, it's fine. I'm good." This is husband-speak for "Chill, Brandi. You worry too much."
And it's true. I fretted unnecessarily. The pastor gave a good sermon. His wife came up to us and welcomed us to the church. Members greeted us like we were family. We could feel the Holy Spirit moving among the congregation.
Guess my doubts about the church due to its size were put to rest. Having a large crowd doesn't mean you'll be received better or that Jesus is somehow more present than in a smaller group of worshippers.
"So do you want to visit again next Sunday?" I asked, hopeful.
My husband started the car. "We can. The message was good. I liked how the preacher explained the verses."
I agreed. The church was young and still growing. Maybe we could be a part of its growth. We're not going to rush things and join immediately. We'll wait and see what God leads us to do. In the meantime, I'll reflect on a new lesson learned. In light of the spirit of God flowing among worshippers, church size is so relative.
Remember those optical illusions with the candle and the two faces? When was the last time you looked at something that turned out to be different when you saw it again?