After a period when people have been away over the summer, one of us has been in hospital and visits and visitors have made it difficult for us all to be together I came across something that Ian Adams wrote about being in a small group.
We sometimes feel fragile and vulnerable because there are not many of us; just one family not being with us makes a huge hole in our number so it was encouraging to read the following.
Small is good
It may not always feel like it, but I want to suggest that when we start something like a missional community, small is good! I’d go on to suggest that smallness may even be good throughout the life of a community.
Be assured that there are really tough things that go with smallness – fragility, vulnerability, lack of recognition to name just 3 – but these challenges are full of possibility and hope.
Small is good because it opens the way to participation. If the thing is small it requires us to be involved – and when we get involved we both shape and are shaped by the experience.
Small is good because it takes us into relationship. This path can, of course also be hugely uncomfortable. But it’s in relationship with others that some of our rough edges become beautiful shapes, that Christ may be glimpsed as we learn to live, argue, accept and perhaps ultimately love our traveling companions.
Small is good because it has a vitality that cannot be easily defeated by difficulty, let-down or even persecution. The experience of people who attempt this way is that in the exposed state of smallness there can be a rediscovery of the God who is closer than we can imagine.
Perhaps we should not be surprised to discover that small can be good. For 2000 years would-followers of Jesus have banded together in small groups to share the journey. It could be argued that the Church has been at its most vital and authentic when characterised by being small – and that we have struggled to live the way of Christ whenever we have become big, powerful, or the majority. So don’t be afraid of smallness. Work with it, embrace it, love it. Small is good!