Sunday, February 1, 2009

Big Church

Children's ministries has its own lingo sometimes, and one term that seems to be common is "Big Church." For example, kids often join their families in Big Church for special events, and at SLC First, the 4-k group worships in Big Church for the first part of the service before going with Miss Betty for Stories of God.

Big Church can feel a bit foreign to kids -- and adults -- who have not been there before. These days I feel like that as I visit other churches during these weeks of leave. I have been part of church leadership long enough that it is easy to forget what it's like to be a visitor, and I want to see that experience with fresh eyes, and to become better able to help guests of SLC First to feel at home when I return.

It is foreign, too, because different churches do things differently. How do they honor Christ through the Lord's Supper? When do they baptize believers? What is in place to help people mature in their faith? Where do kids worship? These are important to me as a leader because they give me ideas. They are important to me as a visitor because I want to worship without the distractions of trying to figure out what is happening.

There is another part of this Big Church experience in my life -- the opportunity to experience even just a small taste of the Big Church existing beyond our walls. I had the privilege of doing this a year ago with Extreme Nazarene in Argentina, then this past summer in Barbados. I saw some of Big Church when I took teens to camp with hundreds of others across our District, and when we hosted teen quizzing.

The pastor where I worshiped today returned yesterday(?) from his own Big Church experience. He visited a multi-site church in the Philippines to talk with their leadership about ministry and to worship with thousands of others who are also tremendously excited about what God has done in their lives, and about what he continues to do.

There is one body, with many members. SLC First is part of Big Church.

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