How many people can you pile into a VW or a phone booth? That used to be all the rage. Well, my question was, as more and more people came, how many folks can you cram into the mud-room of a house?
Sunday morning’s gig was at a “house” church, I was told. I figured there would be 15, maybe 20, tops, sitting in someone’s living room. I’m okay with that. I just want to preach and meet other believers.
When we arrived at the church’s stated time and were given seats outside the house, and with no one else there, I figured it might just be me, my handler and the pastor’s family. I’m okay with that as well. I long since have left the numbers-equaling-success game.
But then they started to arrive. One couple travel two hours to this house church in Delhi. Since they live in a village outside of the city, their trip requires a bus plus 3 changes on the metro. Others rode 2-wheelers, motorbikes and cars. Some walked.
When we finally went inside, the place was pleasantly full. The few empty holes in this 7" by 28" back-of-the-house-room-turned-into-church allowed room for the 3 toddlers to squirm. But then more came and more and more. Each time people squeezed a little tighter. Some sat in adjoining rooms, at the exit doorway and even outside.
It blew me away. I was a tad uncomfortable sitting in a nice chair while most were on the floor, shoulder-to-shoulder.
The message went okay, but the best part of the day was outside. A few chairs were brought out for us, others sat down, many ate and for an hour-and-a-half we just fellowshipped together. Some spoke English so I could understand a bit of the conversation. This was a well educated crowd with the head of a nursing division in the local hospital, a nurse, a gal studying to become a doctor, a government official, etc.
As I sat there I thought that this might just be a little of what Heaven is like. Ten thousand years of just sitting in a circle talking to believers of other cultures and time periods. The stories of God’s grace that will be told. The history. How cool will that be?
I challenged the church that next time I come I hope to see the 50-strong not only grow, but find another place to worship.
Oh, to have this problem in our churches – crammed to the gills of our plush buildings. What these folks would give for one of our fellowship halls or even a classroom. Yet, without complaining, they happily come to church where for 90-minutes they will sit uncomfortably, shoulder-to-shoulder to sing praises to God and listen to His Word.
Since you’ve read this far, how about whispering a prayer for pastor Samson and the Indian National Church that God will provide their needs. One need - seven are scheduled to be baptized, but they have to rent a church to do this. Hard to believe another church would charge them for this opportunity. They’ll need the money for this.
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