It is normal (and good) to wonder what good a church can do in the world. Sometimes, though, when you are a part of a small church, it can be common to doubt that the church can do any good. “We don’t have the resources,” we say. “We lack the servants, the ministers, the money, the talent, the ability.”
But what constitutes a small church, anyway? We might be tempted to measure by people in attendance, but perhaps it would be better if we measure by the openness of our community.
If we are a church which has shut the door to outsiders, which has cut itself off from the historical traditions and practices of the Church, which has developed an attitude of exclusivity, and which has shunned anyone with diverging views or beliefs, with attendance reaching five digits – it’s still a small church. Its mission is narrow, its reach is narrow, and its accomplishments will be narrow.
But if we are a church which opens the doors to everyone, which receives members in baptism and shares in the table of the Lord Jesus Christ, which invites the world around it to know the transformational love of Christ, and which finds itself deeply rooted in the historical traditions and practices of the Church, then hear the word of the Lord: “Where two or three gather in my name, there I am.”
Your church of two or three might be a small congregation, but it is a part of the large Church. It was built upon the foundation that Jesus laid, claiming in its history important figures like Peter and Paul, Clement and Ignatius and Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Origen of Alexandria, Tertullian, Augustine, and Jerome. You have been shaped by artistic presentation of the gospel of da Vinci, the reformational work of Martin Luther, the philosophy of Descartes, the theological explorations of Calvin and Wesley, the writings of C.S. Lewis, the prophetic voice of Martin Luther King, Jr., the sacrificial love of Mother Teresa, to name only a few. Your church of two or three or more – you are not a small church, you are a small congregation that joins the large Church, along with its rich tradition. And there are no limits to what Christ can do in you.