When thinking about what it means to be a small church in the looming shadows of some of the largest churches in Pittsburgh, terms like small batch, artisinal, and hand-crafted seem to invade those inner conversations.
I found the above photo when looking for a cute logo to pair with these thoughts. I thought it was a joke, at first. And it is, sort of, but also true. You really can go to www.artisanalpencilsharpening.com and order a hand sharpened pencil with a certificate for $500. The artisan, in this case, is David Rees, who has written a book on how to sharpen a pencil. It is all a way of poking fun at the cultural movement of going back to traditional methods of cooking, crafting, and producing everything from pickles to pints of beer.
There is probably plenty to poke fun at in that movement, and certainly things have gotten just about as silly as paying $500 for a hand sharpened pencil, but the original thought behind the terms is still valid. Do things slowly, on a smaller scale, with loving concern for excellence.
As a church, there is a Biblical model for this. Churches of the 1st century were home churches, with probably just enough folks to fit around a dinner table. The scripture encourages us that there doesn't have to be a full house to invite the most important guest to church.
"For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.’
Paul also calls us to do everything with that same "hand-crafted" care when he writes,
"Let all that you do be done in love."
Through the small, loving steps we take with Christ at our side, Brightwood Christian church is positioned perfectly to help brighter days to come to the hearts of our members, our neighbors, and the world. Call it what you want, artisinal, small, batch, hand-crafted, or boutique, this is the little church that can, this is the small community about to make a BIG difference.
Wherever you are in life, whatever you are going through, or how tall the mountains are you need to climb, or how long your to-do list is, remember those words from the scripture. Gather your community around you in the name of Jesus, do the right thing, and do it with love. There now, you are officially a hand-crafted Christian!
Rev. Jana Quisenberry is the minister at Brightwood Christian Church. She's an ordained pastor in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). A graduate of Transylvania University in Lexington, KY and Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN, She now resides in Mt. Lebanon with her husband, two children, and dog, Sookie. Pastor Jana loves the church, science fiction, and coffee.