I am a city boy who moved to the country several years ago. For a while, we continued to go into the city twice a week for church. I couldn’t imagine a Sunday school class of five or six men, or a congregation of less than 100. I was used to belonging to a large, city church. My wife grew up in the country and had attended a country church. She knew there was a difference, but she waited patiently for me to agree to visit a country church.
Several years ago we decided to try the country church down the road a piece from where we live. After attending that church for two weeks, I vowed, for several reasons, never to go back to the city for church.
In most big-city churches I’ve attended, you may get to know a few people who sit around you or who are in your Bible study class, but many will remain strangers, particularly if you are not outgoing.
If you really want to feel the love of God fully expressed through His people, go to a country church. The people there exhibit God’s love in many ways. For example, from the moment you enter Sunday school at our church and for 30 minutes after the last “Amen” in the worship service, everyone hugs everyone. The congregation is happy to see each other, and they show it.
In our former big-city church, if you have a prayer concern, you write it on a card and drop it in the collection plate. At our country church, time is given during the worship service for folks to call out their concerns for others in the congregation, as well as those in the community who aren’t members.
We have fun in our worship service. As the hymn “Down in My Heart” says, “I have the joy, joy, joy joy, down in my heart,” and it applies to every member of our church.
Speaking of music, country churches don’t have any of those newfangled screens with the words to the songs. We don’t need drums, trumpets, guitars and a praise team. We still use hymn books and sing songs with theological meaning. If you see a guitar, it is in the hands of the person bringing the special musical message. We don’t have a choir loft with 150 voices. We simply praise the Lord without a lot of trained voices and fancy robes.
Word goes out when a member is sick, and casseroles are soon on their way. We provide our own Meals on Wheels. When Hurricane Ike hit, checks were disbursed, not only to member families who had damaged homes, but also to others in the community.
We meet in a church that was built in 1863. Any additions made are paid for as constructed. Stained glass windows are given in memory of loved ones. Our only debt is to God. There is only one worship service, and the children aren’t taken someplace else for their own service or to play video games.
The members of our church get together several times a year for a good, ole country-cooked lunch after worship service, and everyone has fun. We especially enjoy baptisms, in which the entire congregation goes to the lake for the ceremony. It’s amazing to see picnickers and swimmers stop what they’re doing and spiritually join in.
If you want to attend a worship service where children and adults worship God together, and where you feel like part of a real family, find a little country church. Once you’ve attended one, I think you’ll agree they are the best.
Editor’s note: We love how much Don loves his new church (although we’ve also been to some big-city churches that demonstrated love-in-action like he describes here). What about you? What do you love about your place of worship? Send us a letter – and a photo if you have a good one – to Capper’s Editor, 1503 S.W. 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609, or e-mail editor@Cappers.com.