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Posts Tagged ‘Small Churches

It’s Just A Hole In The Wall

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It’s Just A Hole In The Wall


My wife and I love those little mom and pop restaurants. The food served there is often a once in a lifetime find. They just don’t make it anywhere else quite like they do at the hole in the wall places. No, don’t get me wrong. We certainly enjoy the food from major chains and big eateries too, but we don’t avoid a place because it is small.

Once for lunch she guided me across town to her new find. It was hidden on a side street, and was so small that it seemed like a gamble to eat there. It was a little Mexican cafe with about four tables. She beamed as she guided me into the room. She really loves little ‘greasy spoons’ places. So do I. There were no English words on the menu, no readable signs on the wall for gringos to cipher. Even the waitress didn’t speak English. We had to point to the pictures on the menu. But… the food was good.

Within twenty-five miles of my house is a small breakfast and lunch restaurant that is also a hole in the wall. The specialty for me is the cinnamon buns that are served hot and named, “Grilled and Drizzled”. As the younger generation might say, they’re to die for.

The menus are placed under the glass at each table setting. The portions are huge; the service is with a smile. They’ve had the same cook for over forty years. It just happens to be voted the “number two” breakfast place in the whole state. And, it’s a hole in the wall.

On a recommendation, I took my wife on a date to a run-down old brick building in a bad part of town. It kind of looked like a deserted warehouse. It actually was an Italian place that was only open of Friday and Saturday nights, because the family is busy making the pasta on the other days of the week.

The local college kids eat there still dressed in their school clothes, but it is not uncommon to see a limo or two pull up from a hundred miles away bringing the mink stole crowd.

Upon entering the door, one has to turn right and go down a flight of stairs to the basement. It is decorated in old world style. For sure, it’s a hole in the wall, but once you eat there, I promise you, you will go back.

In East Texas there is a little Mexican restaurant with no visible waitress. You walk up to the cash register and place your order. The menu is written on the sidewall in what may be chalk or an erasable maker.

The building is old, nothing is fancy, and the soft drinks are dispensed from an old glass cooler with a see through door. The wooden counter top has been serving its purpose for more years than the person taking the order has been alive.

With great apologies, my host explained that he seldom brings anyone here, only his close friends, because it’s just a hole in the wall.

It only takes a bite or two before this little joint becomes your favorite hole in the wall Mexican restaurant ever. You tell your host that every time you come to this town, you want to come back here to this little hole in the wall.



“Be it ever so humble, no place like home.” Almost every one of us has a photo or memory of a family home that by today’s standards seems substandard. I do, maybe you do too.

When older folks start talking about their home growing up, they often get a smile of remembrance on their face, and a dreamy look in their eyes. They will try to out do each other bragging about how poor they were, but still to them, it is a place cherished above all things in their memory. They were born and raised in something akin to a hole in the wall… and proud of it.



Why is it OK for a cafe to be a hole in the wall, but not a church? There is no telling and no limit what can blossom from your little hole in the wall church building. Between you and the Lord, you can work towards making your little hole in the wall the place everyone wants to find.

As the son whose parents started six home missions churches, I feel a special connection with small churches, and their pastors. My wife and I started a church. My oldest son started a church, my number three son started a church, and my daughter and her husband did as well.

As a visiting minister it is so common to hear terms like… “Well, we are just a small church, and we don’t have very many.” Or, “where two or three are gathered together…” I know most of the lines. I’ve even used them my self.

After looking backwards over my seventy years of going to church, some of the most wonderful moments of living for God were found in some little church not far from the echoing sounds of the train track. Maybe it’s a storefront, or a small building displaying an amateurish hand painted church sign… maybe it’s a converted garage or even a single-wide mobile home. It is just a hole in the wall.

In the day when mega churches are super impressive, I cannot discount what I have seen, what I have heard, what I have felt in those little hole in the wall places.

Some have no musical instruments, no pews, no microphones, and no overhead projectors. But they have love, fellowship, unity, good prayer and worship, to top it all off, the preacher preaches like there is 400 there and not just the actual four in his audience.

I have absolutely nothing unkind to say or think about medium, large or mega sized churches. God bless them all. I just don’t want the people of God to be embarrassed because of their small building. God most certainly can bless in a hole in the wall.

Every church was a home missions church once, a hole in the wall. The Lord is not restricted or limited by the size of the building. Ask any foreign missionary, ask any home missionary.

I would be the last to tell you keep your church small, only a fool would think that way. What I desire is for you to enjoy and treasure the days of small things. Don’t despise them. It’s even God’s design.

To me the hole in the wall churches are almost sacred. Yes, you heard me right. Remember Azusa Street? I thought you might. The pictures look like it’s just a hole in the wall.

Oh yes, did I mention that it was in a hole in the wall building where I got the Holy Ghost?






Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 26, 2014 at 10:08 am

Posted in Church Planting

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