Since my family and I attend a home church, our Sundays look a little different than most peoples’ – everything is much smaller. But, being a one-on-one type of person myself, I can honestly say that I have loved every minute of it. And, no matter where you are or what church you attend, God always teaches you unique lessons. So here are a few lessons that I have learned from eight years in a home church!
Here are four important lessons that I have learned:
1. To embrace age differences
I wrote on this topic in an earlier post, but it really is such an important point that I can’t stress it enough! Since our home church has been made up mostly of different families over the years, there have been some pretty significant age gaps. We have had college students, toddlers, infants, grandparents, parents, and teens all interacting and praising God together!
Since we don’t really have a Sunday school or youth group, the kids and teens (myself included) often hang out with everyone else during both our worship time and scripture reading. This has been such an amazing lesson for me growing up! Spending time with so many different ages, I have learned how to talk and interact with a variety of people – not just my peers. There is so much to teach those younger than you, and so much to learn from those older! Learning how to relate with other ages is such an important skill because it’s real life – rarely are you ever just around your age group.
Because of the diversity, over the past 8 years I have heard discussions on everything from job interviews, to college classes, to a baby’s napping schedule, to retirement! At the time I took it for granted. But, now I realize that not everyone gets that opportunity. So, I encourage you all to seek out friendships with a variety of ages! It really gives you such a head-start in life if you are able to glean wisdom from toddlers, college students, parents, and seniors.
2. To be a leader with my faith
During the first hour, as a group, we would read a Scripture passage and discuss it. Now, what we discussed depended on each individual. At first, as an 8 or 9-year-old, it was rather scary presenting a lesson from my quiet times to the whole group. Especially when most of them were at least twice my age! But, that practice has really helped me gain the confidence to share my thoughts and my faith at home, with friends, in the classroom – and with you guys! I think it is scientifically proven that public speaking is the scariest of skills, so being able to practice it in a small group setting was very helpful! We would also pray and read Scripture aloud – another invaluable skill that I continue to use daily.
After that first hour of group singing and discussing, we would separate into families. For my family, we would take that time to share what we had each learned from our quiet times. Having this time on Sunday morning really pushed my siblings and I to read our Bibles every day – that way we would have something to share! If you don’t do anything like this as a family, I encourage you to find a “Bible buddy” (or something like that…). Find someone who will hold you accountable to your Scripture reading, memorizing, or any other goals you might have. Accountability is super important not just in your everyday life, but in your spiritual life as well!
3. That relationships matter…
Since our church is so small (normally only a few families), we have had the wonderful opportunity to develop close relationships with so many people. Having that foundation of a few close friends was so crucial to us – especially during my brother’s treatment of Leukemia. Friends are really so important in life! Bonding with the families that have been involved in our home church has been one of my favorite parts of our church. As C.S. Lewis famously said,
Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.
Close friends really make all the difference – even when it’s only a few! Knowing that they will be praying for you, encouraging you, and cheering you on is such an inspiration. Besides – isn’t that what the body is all about? All different types of people who are extensions of Christ’s own body, working to spread His love among believers and nonbelievers!
4. …And numbers don’t
So often in our culture, churches are judged by the number of people in their congregation. It almost seems like the bigger the church, the better. But, being a part of a small home church, I have realized that that is not necessarily the case! One passage that we have often pondered in relationship to our church is this:
“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”
– Matthew 18:19-20
I love this verse because it is true, and I have personally seen it played out in real life! Whether it is six people praising God or 1,000, God will still reveal himself if they call on His name sincerely. Just before that verse, Jesus tells the parable of the 99 sheep. When one wanders off, the Sheppard leaves the other 99 to find it. And when he does find it, he rejoices over it more than the other 99 sheep. It is that way in heaven, as well! God doesn’t just look at the numbers; He looks at hearts. If our hearts are truthfully seeking out Him, He will reveal Himself – even if it’s only to four people.
What really matters?
Pure numbers can often be discouraging. You didn’t earn enough points, you didn’t score high enough, you didn’t collect enough “likes”. But, whenever you are tempted to give up – remember that God doesn’t look at the numbers, and He doesn’t even look at appearances! He looks at your heart. That’s why this last lesson is so important.
Attending a home church has forced me to stop and consider: what really matters to God? 1,000 vs. 100 people? No. From what I have seen so far from the Bible, He cares about individual hearts and their relationship with Him. I hope that this truth will encourage you today!
Is there a time when you have been reminded by God that quality is more important than quantity?