What is the difference of 1? Mathematically it would be the equivalent of itself less than what it was a part of. However, adding the human element to 1, the difference can be exponentially positively multiplying.
There was a young shy college age girl who was attending a major university. She attended a very large congregation with many young people her age; but it was a diverse group as well – with members of all ages: A popular preacher, an established eldership, and both the wisdom of the older and energy of the younger to draw strength. The only other church of Christ she had heard of was rumored to be a small institutional group.
When a powerful storm moved through the area, it knocked out power at the church where this young college girl was attending. They held a short service and a gentleman made an announcement that any who were interested were invited to attend service at the other (thought by some “liberal”) group in town that evening where electricity was fine. While the college girl didn’t take them up on the invite at the time, she did reason that they must not be a liberal group after all. Better find out for herself.
So a few weeks later, when her parents came to town, the college girl expressed a desire to go “check out” the other church in town. They were greeted with great enthusiasm by the members. Investigating everything carefully she found that the organization, worship, and service of the church was all according to biblical authority: Nothing more and nothing less. Nothing less that is, except for the fact that the preacher was not as widely known, there was no eldership, and there were no young college aged people to be found. If she were wanting to choose, it doesn’t seem like a very hard choice. In fact, from my experience I imagine, to 99% of people it would be an easy choice – bigger church, more popular preacher, established eldership, lots of young people my age. For this college girl though it was a different choice.
She blended in where she was, and it would probably even be fair to say she was “lost in the crowd”. For some that is just what they want, to be lost in the crowd. But for her, it meant a lack of encouragement. At the congregation of about 18 people where she visited with her parents, she had the opportunity to make a difference. I know what you are thinking, “What difference could a shy college girl make at a tiny elderly church in a college town?”. The answer is… the difference that God intended.
She made the conscious decision to take up roots there. As she did, three of her college friends decided to as well. One of the college friends began talking to his parents who soon visited and ultimately placed membership. Through a meeting invitation that the young college girl extended, a young man came to visit who eventually became the congregation’s new preacher! Through his zealous work, some souls were brought to the gospel, baptized, and made the decision to attend there. What a difference 1 can make!
When she started going to that church there were about 18 who attended weekly. A few years later, after she was married and ultimately had to move… the congregation had doubled in size. What a difference 1 can make.
This is not to condemn “bigger” churches, or the people who choose to go there. It is to simply point out that small churches of Christ ARE churches of Christ! And if 1 chooses to make themselves a part, then they have lost nothing! This is not about the girl, it is about us recognizing that we all, as an individual part, are exponentially important if we choose to serve as God commanded. (Eph 4:16)