This past Sunday I encountered another low attendance for Morning Worship Services. Our attendance for Sunday Fellowship Breakfast was at an even dozen as we enjoyed a hot breakfast of sausage and cheese casserole, grits, cinnamon rolls, hot coffee, juice, and milk. However, the number did not hold as we lost a family of five who did not join us for Sunday School and Worship Service. I continue to counsel myself that it is absolutely okay for individuals in need of a hot breakfast to show up to eat but not attend services. I fear that I will have to continue this personal counseling! Despite the small number, our church was filled with a glorious mix of worship styles as we enjoyed opening music of a contemporary genre along with a mix of the more traditional worship music tunes. The contemporary music is a new endeavor and it is being slowly introduced to the congregation. Our minds are soaring and swaying to the catchy contemporary lyrics as we move into the morning prayer and recitation of the Lord's Prayer. The prayer is being taught in our children's Sunday School class and it is an added joy to hear the young voices as they hesitantly say, or repeat, the words of that wonderful prayer along with the congregation. The congregation this past week was made up of "half and half." Half tried and true established Christians and half newbies in their faith-walk. Because of this there is greater time needed for those rituals such as the Offertory Prayer and the Singing of "The Doxology." These newbies still have to find page 815 in the "Celebration Hymnal" before they can sing along on a song that is truly not the easiest for the most established church attendees. However we struggle through with an evidenced worshipful attitude as we reach that "Amen." It is all good.
Perhaps one of the most rewarding moments is when we reach the time for the "Children's Sermon." On any Sunday, there may be one, two, three, four...well you get the picture. We just never know how many we will have and what ages will make up this group. We have had them from ages two to fifteen—and that is all good! When you are delivering a “children's sermon," you need to be well prepared to be upstaged by a comment, question, or answer that may just break-up the congregation in laughter. Of course we are told that laughter is good for the soul, right? Well, at any rate, the presenter must be prepared for the puppy story, sibling story, and tell-alls as we know that little ones are not well-known for keeping household indiscretions. It is not unusual to hear that big brother was dumped out of bed because mama had called him for the last time, or to hear that "grandpa don't drink much, only when he is really tired!" At any rate, children's sermons are a wonderful time to impart some simple truths that may be maintained in those sharp little brains. I always like for my children's sermons to have the same central message as the “big-people's sermons" as a way to keep the message common. We also know that many times the adults get the message quicker from the children's sermon and that's okay, too.
I do not know what it would be like to look out on the Sunday Worship Service attendees and see tens, hundreds, or thousands. What I do know is what it is like to look out and see a dedicated group of individuals who want to hear God's Word and who want to be a part of our little church as we grow in our faith-walk.