Where Two or Three Are Gathered...
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
“We want a crowd to make us feel important and liked. But why is getting a crowd our focus? Jesus never suggested that crowds were the goal. He never addressed getting your church to grow. Never.” – Chuck Swindoll
I have preached in front of 500 people crowded into a church sanctuary. I have also preached in front of 500 inmates crowded into a prison recreation yard. There is no difference, nor should there be. God’s Word is still God’s Word, regardless of the audience.
Likewise, I have preached in a church with less then 10 people in attendance and on a prison softball field with an equally small number. Once again, it doesn’t matter the size of the crowd. All that matters is whether God’s Word is communicated clearly and unapologetically.
Last week, our Risk Takers for Christ basketball team traveled three hours to play and minister at the Putnam Correctional Institution in East Palatka. Putnam CI is one of the smaller institutions in the State of Florida, with less than 500 residents. Its recreation yard is also quite small, with a single basketball court, a couple of handball courts, and a softball field so tiny that even a banjo hitter like me can drive the ball over the fence.
When we visit Putnam, our basketball games usually attract about 50 spectators and last Saturday was no exception. But the number of spectators isn’t what I remember most about our visit. On the contrary, what sticks in my mind is how receptive they were to the gospel message. I preached during halftime of the morning game and Matt Parris shared the gospel in the afternoon. Each and every inmate eye was riveted on us throughout our messages. Apparently, so were their ears, because 11 men made professions of faith in Jesus Christ and many others rededicated their lives to Him.
Size doesn’t matter to God anymore today than it did when He chose David over his older (and taller) brother Eliab. Instead of looking at a man’s outward appearance, God looks at his heart (I Samuel 16:7).
I guess that’s why I call Dr. Bill Waltz, “America’s Greatest Pastor”. Pastor Bill has faithfully shepherded his flock at Cinnaminson Baptist Church in New Jersey for more than 30 years. During that time, his congregation has never exceeded 100 and currently stands at a fraction of that number. And yet, he remains undiminished and undeterred, diligently studying God’s Word and proclaiming His truth every Sunday morning…and every Sunday evening… and every Wednesday night.
Folks, don’t get caught up in numbers and don’t measure success by money, size or stature.
“From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.” John 6:66 (NKJV)
- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President