“I resist the trend toward megachurches, preferring smaller places out of the spotlight. I never fully understood why until I came across this paradoxical observation in G. K. Chesterton’s Heretics:
“The man who lives in a small community lives in a much larger world … The reason is obvious. In a large community we can choose our companions. In a small community our companions are chosen for us.”
Precisely! Given a choice, I tend to hang out with folks like me: people who have college degrees, drink only Starbucks dark roast coffee, listen to classical music, and buy cars based on EPA gas mileage ratings. Yet after a short while, I get bored with people like me. Smaller groups (and smaller churches) force me to rub shoulders with everybody else.
Henry Nouwen defines “community” as the place where the person you least want to live with always live. Often we surround ourselves with the people we most want to live with, which forms a club or a clique, not a community. Anyone can form a club; but it takes grace, shared vision, and hard work to form a community.” (Philip Yancey)