My world is about to grow by becoming very small. A new church is a tiny thing. There are about twenty people who want to begin this project, worshipping in a new place, getting to know the people of a new neighborhood. For a while, until we get to know our new neighbors, our experience of church will be each other. Christian ministry will be what we do with each other, in the hopes that the community we build will extend by its ripples to include a whole town. To grow large, we start by becoming small.
Already we have been meeting for prayer and planning, and a women's book study has been reading and discussing A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller. We are learning about each other, praying for each other, and praying that the new church will be guided and used by Christ. We are learning about the neighborhood, soliciting ideas from community leaders, and considering what skills our group has and needs. We are trying to act wisely and faithfully, from our tiniest beginnings to our biggest hopes.
Our plans for our kids are similar. After five years with the public school system, we've decided the best thing for our third and fourth graders is homeschool, while our youngest two continue for now in the public school. Our girls have acquired some skills in public school, but they are not thriving. I love the solitude and stillness I get at home during the day while all the kids are at school (at least sometimes - there are still many visits to school during the day), but as precious as that solitude and stillness are, seeing my girls grow in ability and competence is more important, and I think they need me to help them now.
These are big changes in our lives. I have to give up things that are dear to me - my familiar church, my solitude, the projects that require child-free time - and draw the circle of my life smaller. For the sake of growing something new and amazing, we are folding ourselves in, starting as a tiny seed.
This, it turns out, is how the gospel works. The skies filled with singing angels and magi came on pilgrimage from far away, but then there was just one boy's life in a small town in Galilee. When that boy grew up, his ministry began with twelve friends. Not cathedrals and palaces. No university degrees. He didn't even have a blog.
A few people, in a family or in a church, serving God together. It's how big things start.