Contrary to popular opinion, size does NOT matter. And as much as we like to think of numbers as an indicator of the health of a congregation, there are more things to factor in to vitality than membership numbers. I’ve been very blessed to visit several of our smaller congregations over the last ten months, and believe me, there is good stuff happening in many of them!
Just yesterday, I stopped by St. John in Wilson (near Lubbock, for those who may not know,) to visit with Tonda Freitag. Tonda has been serving as their SAWL for several years now and is currently also the Dean of the Panhandle Conference. I learned a lot about St. John and the good work they do to benefit their community.
While they may average only 18 in worship on a Sunday, those folks work hard and generously. Four years ago, they chose to find a new way to do community outreach and make a difference in big ways. They partnered with the South Plains Food Bank out of Lubbock to become a site for their mobile food pantry. Once a month, every month, the SPFB truck shows up in Wilson to provide boxes of food for 30-50 families. Each family gets at least two full boxes of food plus whatever seasonal offering the food bank has for them. The members at St. John work to screen recipients and to distribute the food on those days. Plus, they pay for the food! Generally, the cost is low for the amount they receive (approx $7 per unit), but multiply that by at least 30 every month. This year, the folks at St. John received a grant from the Mission Endowment Fund to help with the cost, but they still pay much of it themselves. Tonda was proud to tell me they have never turned away a single family. Not once. In addition to local families, during much of the year, they also provide food for the migrant workers in the community for the season.
This is ministry, folks. Mighty big ministry!