9/19/13

SMALL CHURCHES BEST MAKE BIG LEADERS

This past Sunday, the gathered of Emmaus Road prayed for all of our first time and returning students, including children and adults going to school; we also prayed for our church's teachers.  When I asked all these people to come up front, I was struck with the crowd of potential Christian leaders we have in our midst.  It reminds of something I read recently, having shared it in a recent eWeekly. Check out  Next World Leaders in Your Small Church? on our denomination's Network Blog.  Comparing and contrasting the experience of growing up in a large church versus a small church, findings suggest that the larger church cultivates more spectators. In a smaller church, all people, including the young, are more apt to participate, learn to lead, develop ministry skills, etc.  Small churches can make a big impact for the Kingdom!





The Emmaus Road Story

In the winter of 1997, we began as a small team of about 10 people, committed to gathering and growing a church that would connect with others like ourselves; people interested in connecting with God, in the person and work of Jesus Christ, but disconnected from the activity of many mainstream congregations. With the financial support of a larger church organization, our pastor was able to work full time with the team in planning, leadership development, and meeting people in the community.

Our first meetings were open discussion forums. We talked about prayer, scripture, spiritual discipline and the issues with which we all struggle. As friends talked to friends, the first group expanded and we multiplied into two.

Inspired by the journey process as a metaphor for spiritual growth, we searched for a name which would reflect that idea. In the resurrection narrative of Luke 24, we found our name "on the road to Emmaus."

After our first worship event on Good Friday of 1997, both groups began to gather together for worship once a month. In various coffee shops and rental spaces, we gradually increased our worship times to twice a month, and in September of 1998 we decided to gather every Sunday. Since the beginning, numerical growth has been gradual but steady, most often through the personal contact of friends talking to friends.

Today, several small groups continue to meet for open discussions on prayer, scripture, and the process of encountering God in daily life; we all gather for worship each week.