The Rev. Matt Harrison has a great little article directed at small congregations.  He praises the oft overlooked and maltreated small rural congregations in our LC-MS.  I have been thinking about some other matters.

Here is a matter on my mind.  I feel uneasy about large congregations with multiple services and their celebration of the sacrament.  The first reason is this: there is too much opportunity for sin to remain unrepentant.  If there is sin between brothers, the two individuals, or groups, can remain separate in Spirit and harbor animosity toward one another and just switch services so they might never run into one another as often, they can remain strangers.

In small(er) congregations, particularly those with one service in which the Sacrament is celebrated,  the Pastor seems to be more able to oversee that mystery.  It is hard to keep anger, animosity, division, from a watchful Pastor in a small(er) church in my opinion.

The Sacrament is not just something in which individuals are transformed and conformed to the Faith and Flesh of Christ, it is the Place where the church is kept, formed, made-again, in the image of the Divine Christ through the forgiveness of Sin.  I am worried about the souls of the people.  It is unhealthy for them to remain divided and unrepentant and yet act, eat, and drink, all the same in unity, just in different places and times in the “same congregation.”

The second reason: why not start a completely different congregation when a church is large enough?  Certainly there are many factors here.  Think about the care of the church as a whole.  What would our church body look like if this were all the case?  When the Pastor had cared for his people so well they were ready to add another service.  However, rather than sacrifice care and the Sacrament to the wallet; a new congregation is started and a new Pastor comes to care and celebrate the Sacrament.  That sounds rather nice to me.

Come Lord Jesus is all I can pray, Come!