My husband has been serving a small United Methodist Church in Columbiana, Alabama and I am just along for the ride as the wife of the preacher. He retired about 7 years ago as a full time Methodist Minister after 35 years of serving churches and as a District Superintendent where he oversaw about 70 churches. I am saying all that to say I have seen a lot of churches and known a lot of people who have been members of those churches. I have experience. When Audie started serving this church we went from attending a church with 50,000 members and multiple campuses to one that has approximately 50 members. I found the number of members makes no difference but the quality of members makes a huge difference. The people I have met are some of the most genuine, dedicated, "real" Christians I have ever seen in one place. I forget how living in a small community and attending a small congregation is like one of the early churches in scripture. These people all know each other, the good, bad and ugly and really love each other. Not only do they love each other but with an open heart they strive to follow Jesus' example at all times. The scripture "Love your neighbor as yourself" is their attitude. You might think a little country church would have a close-minded, dogmatic idea of what a Christian is or is not - not these people - I have seen them listen to new or different opinions and not just write them off but honestly seek to find God's answer in matters. They try to see the perspectives of others, even if they might disagree with them.
Their dedication as a church family runs deep, Senior luncheons, auctions, yard sales, and barbecues to stretch the budget. They seem to never tire of working hard for the church and church building that they love. They remind me every week of what is really important - of what it means to live more simply and seek to follow Christ the best way I can every day.