I have only ever attended one church throughout my entire time on earth. Church on the bay or ‘COB’ as it is colloquially known is a simple, small, local church. Situated about two minutes from my house, I have spent the last twenty years making the short journey to attend the weekly morning services.
The congregation comprises of about fifty to sixty, ranging from new born to elderly. We are not a glamourous church, nor do we have the resources to conduct large scale community events or multiple services, but what we do have surpasses traditional metrics of ‘success.’
A congregation which is faithful, loyal, and unwavering in its ambition to see God move through their lives and through the lives of others. This speaks volumes. It is this experience of mine which has really sparked my enthusiasm for the idea of the ‘local church’ at large.
As faithful Christian missionaries in Papua New Guinea, the lives of my grandparents have always been a benchmark by which I have been able to derive wisdom. Thirty years ago, when their family moved into my local suburb, they made a decision which has always stuck with me.
While all their children immediately dispersed far and wide to find a church to which they could call home, my grandparents determined that the little church on the corner of their block would become their home.
Not interested in the latest trends, most professional setup, or most comfortable community, my grandparents decided to invest and grow where they were planted. There they both loyally remained until death. Investing in the small, local church enabled them to develop strong relationships and contribute to the churches’ collegiality, bless the community through united, persistent, and intentional prayer and worship, and minister through friendship with hundreds of non-Christian residents.
It is my firm belief that if more people were to invest into their local church, we would see God work in our own hearts and in the lives of the community like never before.
The promises and pleasures of modern society beckon us every day. Materialism is an attractive aspect of the world around us, however, it can so often be laid on shaky foundation and even sometimes, rooted in sin. Money, comfort, relationship, security, are some of these materialistic pleasures which we often find ourselves negatively utilising.
I feel as though these pleasures can tend to sneak their way into our perception and attitude towards church as well. We look to the big church, the more comfortable church, the more welcoming church, or the well-organised church, as criteria for our attendance.
I believe this to be the wrong approach. The idea that we will ever find a utopian church is a fantasy, so why not invest into the local community. Whether we like to admit it or not, many of these small churches require practical aid and assistance on a weekly basis. They require finances, time and effort, contribution of skills and gifts, prayer, and community in order to operate. This presents a monumental opportunity that God is calling many of us to seize by looking to serve into these needs. After all, we have been called to go to…
…so therefore, let’s start in Jerusalem. Where is your Jerusalem? Find it and get to work. Having had the privilege to serve my local church through music and sound has been an activity which has personally developed and matured me in a way I never thought possible – giving me an appreciation for the small-scale work that God does through his people and those to which his loves every day.
While I recognise the importance of personal freedom in Church choice, as far as possible, growing were we are planted is the most effective method through which we display Christ as a community, while growing in our own faith like never before.
David Lean is law & accounting student, elite athlete & business owner, from Brisbane, Australia.