I was raised in a large mega church ministry and have been exposed to those ministries for almost 30 years. I enjoyed the opportunities those ministries afforded. My kids were not able to experience that type of ministry. My wife and I have 2 boys (or I should say young men – 18 & 21). Since I have been at this ministry for the last 18 years, a small rural church is all they have known.
I often wondered if this would have a negative or positive impact on their lives. I have always been able to see the positives and negatives of both types of ministry. Recently, my oldest has moved into a larger city about 40 minutes from our church. He is involved in a larger church ministry in the city during the week disciplining Junior High age kids and working with the College age ministry. I explained to him that I wanted him to feel free to choose where he worships and that his mother and I wanted him to visit us, but that he needed to worship in an environment that was beneficial to his growth at this stage in his life.
Recently we have noticed that he has started to attend worship with us. Upon further investigation, he explained that he enjoyed the family atmosphere that surrounds our church. He enjoyed the programs of the large ministries, but missed the intimacy and accountability that a smaller church provides. In his mind, he has the best of both worlds now.
I am thankful for a church family that allowed my children the freedom to be themselves and loved them no matter what they did. I often wished our church could have offered them more programs, but I have come to realize that what we could not offer in programs, we replaced with intimacy and family.