Editor’s note: This column was originally written in 2006. It has aged well, we believe—even better than the Banner editor!
My name is Nicki, and I was a member of a small church plant. Because our church was not growing at the rate classis leaders felt was necessary, our funding was withdrawn.
I have been a member of five churches in my 21 years—all of them Christian Reformed, including the campus ministry at Grand Valley State University. My generation is the future of the church. But so many of my friends who grew up in the CRC no longer attend church.
We want the opportunity to get involved, make a difference, and change the world.
I am not saying that it is anyone’s fault—but it should certainly be a concern of the church. People of my generation want the opportunity to get involved, make a difference, and change the world. We long for community and fellowship and family.
These things are next to impossible to do in a large church. Small churches give everyone the opportunity to get involved and “be the change” they wish to see. But there seems to be a mold every CRC church needs to fit into, and if it doesn’t fit, it may have to close.
Why not support small churches that are meeting the needs of so many people instead of expecting them to conform to the mold?
Some members of my community have no desire to continue the search for a church to call home. On the other hand, some who found a home in our small church plant are genuinely thrilled to be there every Sunday.
Knowing that some of them now think the church has once again thrown them aside makes me sad. It breaks my heart to see the faces of the people who finally gave church another shot—but who may never do so again.
A few weeks ago I attended a meeting about what college students are looking for in a church. When I described my church, people started asking questions. They were so excited that this “dream church” already existed. A place where people’s needs are known and met. A place where they are part of a family. A place where no one—not even the pastor—has all the answers, but together they can search.
I worry that I may not be heard because most church leaders are older men and I am a college student. But I am passionate about my faith and have a deep love for others.
Some small church plants, including my own, may never become self-sustaining. But when they close, so many people lose the only place they ever felt they fit in. Including me.