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Smaller but not small

I just finished reading an amazing book by Rick Chromwell called ‘Energizing Children’s Ministry in the Smaller Church’.  The book explains the difference between a smaller church and a small church.

“Smaller churches are adaptive, growing, changing and moving.  Small churches are those who have allowed their traditions, congregational size, and attitudes to create a formidable wall against becoming larger.  Smaller churches are hopeful and… Small churches are pessimistic and resit growth or change.”

I love the fact that we are a smaller church.  We have so much potential to partner with parents and extended families in the spiritual formation of our children.  We can integrate children into our gatherings in ways that wouldn’t be possible if we are larger and we can provide a space that allows our children to feel like they are part of the church family.

As a church, I think we do this really well but I’m also reminded that we can do it a lot better.  One thing that has come up in several of the books on children’s ministry is that children need to be embraced as children.  What this means is that we can’t expect them to just sit still and pay attention and we can’t always send them somewhere else to let of steam.  What we need to do is find ways of incorporating the energy and excitement of children into everything we do at church, not just when they’re at Kids’ Church

It sounds like a recipe for chaos, but that’s the point.  It’s also the beauty of being a smaller church.  We have the flexibility and the space to try new and different things.  I really love some of the new and different things people in this church are prepared to try and stay tuned for more newer and different-er things.

Why? Because we can.  Because we’re smaller. 

Paul Riessen, 23/04/2014