by: Mikel Berger
The last couple of Sundays during the worship service I noticed a few small things that I think are signs of a really healthy church.
The first was towards the end of the gathering. I noticed a lot of families with young kids in the nursery and pre-school classes have started stepping out of the auditorium just after the sermon wraps up. They go and get their kids to bring them into the gathering to join with the rest of the congregation for singing the last few hymns. We’re a church that values having children in the worship gathering with us. Children of any age, even nursery and pre-school, are welcome at any time during our corporate gatherings. But we’re also glad to offer a place for the littlest in our church families to be so that their parents can participate in worship with their full attention.
I really enjoy seeing some dads holding up their smiling 3 year old singing along. Or a mom holding her infant as she sings praises to her God. I think at the close of our time together it is awesome that we have the youngest to the oldest in our church family all together and all participating, even in as small a way as singing together. It’s a visible representation of the unity across the generations of our church.
Another small item I noticed is that we have a lot of Bible readers. We so value that Abraham, Paul, Will, and Gami all not only base their sermon on a passage of Scripture but also reference that passage and other support passages frequently throughout the sermon. Sometimes we land in one text for the majority of our time but sometimes we’re flipping around our Bibles a lot. Even though many of us use a digital Bible, some folks (like me) still prefer a dead tree version of God’s word. And when we all start flipping pages at the same time I think it is one of the sweetest sounds that are heard. It’s something that, when done individually is barely noticeable, yet when done together becomes audible even in as large a room as our sanctuary. It’s an audible representation of the unity across our church body.
A third item I noticed actually happened a few days after a Sunday morning gathering where I had been the hosting elder. If you haven’t noticed, a different elder each week “hosts” the service. It is that man’s responsibility to welcome the body to the worship gathering after the opening song or two, give any important announcements, conduct any church business like bringing in new members, and most importantly to give thanks in prayer for our time of worship. I received a text a few days after the service thanking me for my prayer. While I believe the prayer is a vital part of our worship service, it honestly is not something that I labor intensely over when I do it. I maybe prep for 5-10 minutes on a Sunday morning by asking God what he would have me pray on behalf of our church. But that didn’t matter. This person took a few minutes a few days later to just reach out and say thanks. They didn’t just give me a general encouragement, as nice as that would have been. They had two specific things they appreciated about my prayer and wanted to encourage me in those ways.
Those are just three really simple and really small things that tell me we have a growing church. We certainly aren’t a perfect church. We certainly have a lot of big things we are working on. But I pray when we get excited about those things, we’ll remain faithful in these and a thousand other little things. All to the glory of God!