Sunday, January 28, 2007

Circuit Riders - er - Make That Circuit Drivers

In our rural district there are lay speakers who drive 40 to 60 miles each Sunday to deliver the message. As one could well imagine, the churches they travel to are typically small in number, very small. Last summer when gas prices were through the roof, we had a real challenge with some of the speakers not being able to afford to make the trips. One was considering quitting the ministry in light of it costing about $20 to make the round trip to minister to a congregation that had only 6 people attending regular worship. We talked about it, prayed about it, and concluded that if only one person was in that out of the way church, it would still be worth it.

Next week I get to go to one of those small churches. It'll be the second time I've gone to this particular church. Something I've discovered about preaching to small congregations is that it's more personal and conversational. They talk back! There seems to be a stronger presence of the Holy Spirit when 2 or more - but less than 30 - are gathered in His name. That's been my experience. No need for a PA system, no choir, and most times, no standing behind a pulpit.

At first it was awkward ministering to such small congregations. Of late, it's more like visiting friends and sharing God's word in an interactive, personal way. I kinda like that!

2 comments:

Art said...

Hey, at least gas prices are a bit lower now.

I have had those same experiences with the small congregations (I've never really spoken to a large one). It is like a conversation, isn't it?

Good luck!

Marty said...

Art,
I kind of blew it one time when speaking at a small church, the pastor handed a wireless lapel microphone to me and I said that I didn't need it as I project well. When the sermon was over he informed me that 3 of the 15 people there didn't hear a word I said. Turns out the wireless mic wasn't for a PA system, it was for the wireless assisted listening device users!

Guess one shouldn't assume things to be as they appear.