You’ll recognized it as church, but it is crafted to those who are present.
That is not the official tagline to my congregation. But I kinda like it.
My family was standing around the kitchen, talking about mega churches, and someone asked, “What is a mega church pastor?” and after the snarky quips one might expect, the next question was “If we are not mega, then what is our church?” “Micro Church”…and we had a good laugh.
But I kept thinking about this.
Yes, our congregation has never topped 100 in the 12 years I’ve attended there. Slowly we dwindled, for a variety of reasons: death, moving for employment, no significant children’s program, too heady…and a smattering of personal reasons that get people to move up and out.
We sold our building a year ago, sorted all of our worldly possessions to give away, leave behind, or take with us…and we moved to two educational rooms in the lower level of a Quaker Meetinghouse.
Joy. Utter joy.
the Quakers who have welcomed us, allowed us to lick our wounds, regroup, look around and figure out who we are. Who we are is a small but interesting group of people. Micro doesn’t mean too small for quality or meaning or spiritual depth. It means that sometimes there are 12 and sometimes there are 32. What is always present for those who show up, is the desire to be there and connect.
We have the ritual we do after the sermon each Sunday. We call it Response. Anyone can have a say or says to the sermon the scripture the ideas the connection. From this we widen the path of mental understanding and deepen the path of interconnectedness: human and divine.
So each Sunday, unscripted, we share our thoughts, we allow the thoughts of others to hone our understanding, and swirling about in the midst is the Sacred, coming in new ways.
Sure, there isn’t an organ. And sometimes our prelude is a series of oddly played chords on a guitar. Yet smiles are genuine, and you can drink your coffee or burp your baby with ease in this space. You can cry and release, you can offer care by literally moving your body next to another body that is broken, you can look one another in the eye and share non verbal expressions of love.
I like it.
We aim to be a place where all are welcome. We don’t exactly know how to get others to us, but if you show up, you’ll be instantly part of that soulful connection, even if you don’t know exactly what or who has the floor. We, ourselves are a mix of liberal, middle of the road, progressive orthodox, spiritual woo woo, young old, straight, bi, curious, habitual.
And we never know what the mix will be from week to week.
For me, I no longer worry about the numbers. If 5 show up, and the sermon I’ve spent numerous hours in preparation falls upon a limited number of hearts, that is ok. Heck, I’d preach it if it were just me in the room. The holy text that we most often turn to says “Where two or three are gathered”….and if I am there, then that makes two automatically. Because the Divine is always present; as the light, as the open gate, as the welcome.
Crafted for a specific taste, this is a micro church.
Peace and Pleasure,