Big can be good

There are many times when the sheer size of the church I serve seems more like an impediment than an aid to ministry and community. The sheer mass of 12,000+ people claiming some level of association with the church can make things take twice as long and half as intimate as you might find in a church that is simply “large.” But then the other day, there was an event that showed me the other, the beneficent side of bigness.

We got a call in the Congregational Care area from a woman about her son Justin (naturally, not his real name). Justin was in the hospital with pneumonia and a collapsed lung, according to the report. Could we sent a pastor over to pray with him? Sure. I went and prayed with Justin and found out he was doing fine, but was really tired of being in the hospital. Justin is a healthy-looking guy in his late 20s (I’m guessing) with lots of tatoos on his arms and a pretty cool post in his ear. 

That evening, Jen, our lady that handles many of the prayer concerns, was out for a birthday dinner with a bunch of family at her favorite local hang-out. As they were about to commence praying over the dinner, the waitress – who was still in the room – stopped them and said, “as long as you are about to pray, would you mind praying for my son?” They said, “Sure, what’s his name and what can we pray for specifically?” The waitress said, “His name is Justin and he is in the hospital with pneumonia. We just found out earlier today that there is an infection that is causing fluid to build up and they don’t know what is causing it.”

At that point, Jen asked the woman if by any chance she had called Church of the Resurrection earlier that day to ask a pastor to visit Justin in the hospital. Turns out she had! And when she called earlier, she talked to JEN! Is that crazy or what?

Call it just a nutty coincidence, but I really think there is something much more significant going on. See, several kinds of things can happen when you are big. You can get “lost in the shuffle,” or overwhelmed by the sheer size and scope of the church. The other thing that can happen is that your circle of care and influence can spread out in a much wider swath than otherwise might be possible. That is what happened in Justin’s case and it was just so cool to witness!

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