Since being a part of Soul Cafe for the past couple of years, I have dreamed often of the kind of church I want us to be and to become.  I hope my conclusion will be both surprising and encouraging.

When you consider what a desirable church is, you have to have some criteria or value on which to make that judgement.  As I observe church life in the United States, at least, I see pretty clearly the criteria by which some churches are called "great".  The most obvious is size, the sheer number of people that gather under the roof.  In general, the religious culture considers a large number of people to be a "great" church.

The second often follows.  It has to do with the church's financial strength.  That enables them to build, not only big buildings, but nice buildings.  A church with a big campus is thought to be a "great" church.

Then there is the church whose pastor has gained celebrity status.  The more star power the minister has, the "greater" the church.

In contrast, I want to suggest another criteria by which to measure a great church.  I want to suggest that a great church is "good".

Now before you judge the word as anemic, let me define.  I don't necessarily mean morally good, although that is admirable, but that can become prideful or self-serving.

By "good," I mean giving back.  Out of love and authentic empathy for others the church works for the welfare of its community and its world.  It thinks more about how to help than how to be big, or rich, or well known.  It thinks outwardly, not inwardly.

By that definition any church can be great.  In fact, a church of thirty can be as great as a church of three thousand.

Then it really hit me: Soul Cafe is a great church.  Really great!  We talk about how to help and serve the people of Ledbetter more than anything else.

I am so humbled to be a part of Soul Cafe.



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