My wonderful Pastor Wendell Smith mentioned something today at church that struck a passionate chord inside of me. It was regarding the argument against having large churches.  This is obviously something my entire life I have heard about due to going to large churches in areas that I have lived. I have visited Bishop T.D. Jakes church andPastor Casey Treat’s church.  These aren’t small churches.  The current church I go to is around 6,000 and growing. 

People have asked me many times, “How can you stand such a large church?”.  Now, I understand what they are saying.  I understand not wanting to get lost in the crowd.  I understand wanting intimacy in a world that continues to glamorize independence.  First we must define “large” and “small”.  To the Creator of the universe, “large” means everyone. Which would mean my church is “small” currently. 

I think most non-Jehovah witnesses would agree that it’s pretty lame to think only 144,000 are getting into Heaven.  So, isn’t just as lame to assume that here on earth we should only stay at a certain number? “Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven”.  Do we really want that?

God desires all people to get saved, get free, and be in relationship with Him.  So, if we are ambassadors for the living God, here on Earth to spread His love through His body, the Bride, the Church then that means we are out telling people how good He is!  And thus, inviting to them to stay connected to His body, The Church.  So, whose church are you going to tell people to go to?  Well, hopefully, your own!  (Uh, sorry, I know you just met Jesus and wanna start going to church, but I like my church at 300 so you need to find a different one-LAME!!!)

I go to Walmart and wish there weren’t so many people.  I go to IKEA and wish there were less people.  I go to Pike Market, Costco, Best Buy, and the Park and think to myself, why are there so many people?  But I do not go to church and think that!  I do not tell God to send the people away. 

“Lord, don’t we have enough?  Can’t we just hide away and wait for the rapure?  Can’t we just chill with our friends and do church?  I’m tired of trying to remember people’s names.  I’m tired of people sitting in my seat, taking my parking spot, and hearing crying children.  I’m sick of all these sick people.  Can’t you just tell them to stay home?”

“Okay.  Who do you want to start with?  Who are you going to tell to stay home?  Actually, lets start with your family.  Tell your grandma to stay home and give her seat to someone else.  Tell your kids to go do something else.  Sleep in on Sunday and forget there is a God who deeply desires to have a relationship with you on Earth and Heaven.  Your uncle doesn’t need healing that bad.  Your nephew’s marriage is in trouble but meh, let him go to Barnes and Noble and buy a book.  Let him go to a psychiatrist or a shrink for help.” 

People who generally say churches are too big and that it’s bad, are not people who are actively telling the world how good God is and how He wants to know them.  Big churches mean there are more people to help with the needs!  A church of 20 can do a lot, but a church of 20,000 can do a whole lot more!

But I want the pastor to know my name (selfish).  But I want to find a good parking spot (selfish).  But the bathrooms will get dirty (selfish).  But there will be crying children and they’re are distracting (selfish).  But no one will know how great I am (selfish).  But no one in leadership will notice my sacrifice when I serve (selfish/pride).  But I want to be up front, where everyone will see me and love me and know me. (selfish). But my gifts won’t be developed. (selfish/totally untrue) But….Keep your big “but” to yourself. 

I understand what you are saying but it’s selfish.  You can’t tell people to go home.  You can’t tell people that they aren’t allowed into God’s family (which is what a selfish attitude is doing).  Who in Dr. Cho’s church of 1 million+ people are we going to tell to stay home?  Who in Joel Osteen’s church are you going to tell to stay home?  Who in my church are you going to stay home? THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD!  Who are you going to tell to not be apart of it? When we have an attitude that our church is too big, we are essentially telling the world to go to hell. 

Large churches actually are easier to get involved with because there are large needs.  More people are needed in the nursery, kids ministry, sound/video, clean up, worship team, and security. 

You wanna be known?  Start cleaning toilets.  (But they hire people for that-oh, shut up and serve-LOL).  You are needed in a large church.  We do want to know your name.  We do want to know you.  We do want you to take our seats, our parking spots, our toilet stalls.  I don’t mind waiting in a bathroom line.  I don’t mind picking up your garbage.  I’m sorry if I forgot your name (for the 3rd time). I’m sorry I did not respond to you on Facebook.  I’m sorry you feel lost.  But we do love you.  We need you to step up and start mentoring others.  My Pastor can’t do it all.  My Pastor does not know my name.  My Pastor has never asked how my day was.  My Pastor has never said, “Wow, Rhonda, you are so great.  I’m am so glad you are apart of this church.” But Jesus has.  Jesus knows my name.  Jesus has helped me to connect in my large church with some amazing people.  We have small groups that are so easy to become apart of and get to know people.  And through those, we hold people accountable, we get to know people, love on people in intimate settings. 

If you hate large churches, diverse churches and prosperous churches, you are really going to hate Heaven (it’s big, there’s all nations, and the streets are made of gold!). 

Maybe you have been hurt.  There is healing.  Maybe you have had a bad experience.  We sure aren’t perfect.  Maybe you didn’t feel loved.  I’m sorry.  That is not our heart.  God loves you.  Give us a chance too.

P.S. If you are single, the bigger the church the better! (Had to throw that in there for those who think I talk about marriage and dating and boys way too much LOL)