In our context, most people consider Ingleside a larger church. And, I suppose that’s true.
Recently, from the pen of Thom Rainer, I saw a simple depiction of churches in the United States by average number of worshipers:
- 50% of churches average less than 100
- 40% of churches average between 100 and 350
- 10% of churches average more than 350
So, with 2,000 or so worshipers on average at Ingleside, we would be in the larger category for sure.
And, this means that when a newcomer visits Ingleside they may consider our size well outside their comfort zone. Most of their experience may have been in smaller churches.
And, you may be that newcomer!
Of course, Ingleside has not always been a very large church. We began with just 203 charter members back in 1951.
Then, little by little, year by year, a few people here and a few people there, God has added to our church family. And, by his grace, one of the reasons is that we’ve always tried to say, “Yes!”
We’ve always said, “Yes!” when asked, “Can you make room for one more?”
We’ve always said, “Yes!” when asked, “Can I invite my neighbor to come with me?”
We’ve always said, “Yes!” when asked, “Is this a place where I can develop authentic relationships? Will anyone here want to know my name and my story?”
We’ve always said, “Yes!” when asked, “Is this an environment where my kids can grow and learn what it means to follow Jesus?”
We’ve always said, “Yes!” when asked “Can I make a difference here? Is there a place for me to serve and contribute?”
We’ve always said, “Yes!” when asked, “Will anyone here help me, challenge me, and encourage me to become a fully devoted disciple of Christ? To be “salt and light” and a witness in my world?”
So, I guess I’m just saying, if you are a newcomer, please don’t hold our larger size against us. Don’t make some assumptions and don’t reach your conclusions too quickly.
Check us out. Kick the tires. Ask your questions. Give us some feedback. Help us improve. Wade into the water. Then, if God wills, be “all in.”
Because when the Lord one day asks us if we did all we could do to make disciples and build the church for his glory, I hope we can always say, “Yes!”
I’m very grateful to be on this journey with you, and I am convinced that the best is yet to come!