The strength of the local congregation, especially small ones, is found in the following areas.
First, there is one’s commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is paramount, and the foundation to it all. Without the foundation in place the strength of a local congregation is only perceived (imagined), not real. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:16, NKJV). Note the following from this simple declaration. Jesus is THE way, he is THE truth, and he is THE life. Thus, if anyone would know of truth, if anyone would know the way, if anyone would enjoy life, then one must go through Jesus. Furthermore, Jesus said, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46)
Second, the strength of the local congregation is found in its people. If the members of the local church are committed to Christ, then that commitment will show itself in the lives lived. We understand the significance of Jesus, but this does not always translate into actions completed. In Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae, he gave exhortations that was to shape lives in conformity to the Holy Spirit’s will. These exhortations consisted in seeking those things that are above (the things of God); this means physical life is NOT the answer to one’s satisfaction. Additionally, after seeking those things above, the Christian is to set his (or her) mind on those things that are above (the things of God). This anchors one’s heart in those spiritual things in life that are transcendent. Finally, Christians need to put to death those things on earth that do nothing but corrupt the purity of that which the Lord has prepared for us.
Third, the strength of the local congregation is also found in attendance. There are some who feel as if this is not important. The Holy Spirit knew some would think this way, so he authored these words: “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:24-27).
It is this last point that needs to be developed a bit further. The Lord’s church in Sullivan is small; those committed to the Lord and his way will not be discouraged by such a thing. They will, on the other hand, “roll up their sleeves” and set themselves to the Lord’s work. This includes not only evangelistic efforts outside the walls of the building, but also a working effort that tends to the needs of the saints who gather within. In small congregations, young families are of great encouragement; they can be very helpful to the local body by also “rolling up their sleeves” and setting themselves to the work. If they leave, they have removed themselves from being a local solution to what they consider to be a discouraging problem.
The ultimate solution to a congregation, in the final analysis, is: the Lord, one’s commitment to him, one’s willingness to work, and perseverance.