Trinity Baptist Church in Lebanon, New Hampshire, had twelve people in worship yesterday. Ten adults and two children. We sang, we prayed, we greeted one another. They listened to my sermon. We all stayed for lunch, then gathered for another two hours to talk about what’s next for this congregation. Their former pastor retired at the end of December 2015.
We enjoyed lively conversation. Good ideas. Bold thinking. Realistic concerns.
At one point during the discussion, I had to remind the group that Trinity is not a pretend church.
Over the years, I’ve had to tell many congregations, including this one, that, even though they are not large, they are a real church. Jesus is unequivocal when he says, “Wherever two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.”
Jesus doesn’t mention church budgets, music, or pews. He didn’t mention Sunday school or, thank God, deacons meetings. Just gather a few folks together in Jesus’ name, and voila, you’ve got a church.
I’ve never heard anybody say what they like best about their church is doctrine. Or, business meetings.
Of course, there are infrastructure, programmatic, and institutional challenges with tiny gatherings. But, first things first. This is a church. The people of God. The body of Christ.