When I make the statement “I have a burden for small churches,” I get a multitude of looks and responses. If the person to whom I’m speaking is not a member of a small church, or usually any church, they just don’t get it at all. But if they are a member, their response depends upon how active and concerned they are for their portion of the body of Christ. Most are very concerned, and bewildered perhaps, on how to do anything to get their church motivated and growing. I get that. The struggle is real in every church regardless of size. It’s very difficult in our apathetic society who sees no need to arise on Sunday morning with their family and attend their local church. That is what drives me to be up at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning to write about it. And my soul stirs within me because I know I’m called to exhortation of the “little people.” The forgotten church houses in the hills and hollers of the United States. No, not just Calhoun County, West Virginia. Although that is my first mission field. But after traveling to New Mexico and seeing the battle firsthand on that side of the country, my burden is for everyone from east to west and north to south. That is my mission field.
In reading the book of Revelation, I see the little churches. Although the churches for which John is writing may or may not have been little in size. They were notable churches of the day. But read verses 12-16:
12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
First of all, the image of John seeing God should get you excited. That will be us one day who know the Lord Jesus as Savior! The seven candlesticks are the seven churches to whom John writes. The seven stars in the hand of Jesus are the seven angels of the seven churches as written in verse 20.
That thought caught my mind this morning as I began to think about my own beloved (a very churchy word with a very deep meaning) Victory Baptist Church and the fact that we have an angel. I have to tell you, with our tribe, that angel gets a workout. That’s spoken part in fun and much truth. Victory Baptist has been my training ground for 23 years. The Lord placed me there because He knew I’d be under great leadership and receive the edification necessary to make a difference in this world. He allowed me to go through trouble, strife and anxieties within and without the church. That too was training ground.
I’ve experienced the power of Jesus in the midst. That’s where He is. Just like He was in the midst of those seven candlesticks, He’s in the midst of our churches. No matter what our church faces, Jesus is there with all power. We lack nothing of what’s necessary to thrive in his world, and yet we all struggle because the battle is very real. Jesus knows that, and that’s why He’s there.
Those angels that are with Jesus are also there to remind us that although Satan and his minions are out there wreaking havoc, we have our own spiritual realm of defenders. Glory to God! that makes me very happy!
Today I am encouraged in this word. I hope you’re encouraged too! Tomorrow is the Lord’s day and we have a few hours before the bell rings. Let’s do what we can to strengthen the body of Christ by prayer, and an invitation or two! That’s where the growth starts.