lmagine … LITTLE CHURCH, 2026
The “little church with the big heart” has in recent years built on its “community church” feel that is rooted in its Presbyterian heritage. The Little Church on the Prairie is no longer little, for today some 600 people worship in its three week-end services. And while it is still located in the heart of what was once prairie country in Pierce Country, it sits at the center of the City of Lakewood (population 65,000), just across the street from Colonial Park and its shops and theater. Yet “little” still applies, given its friendliness, multiple ways of belonging, and service to the community. And the location nicely integrates the church and park properties in one eye-pleasing green space and New England architecture.
True to holding a historic Presbyterian affiliation, Little Church remains committed to an evangelical faith within the Reformed tradition. It is a church that maintains a strong center in Jesus Christ, a commitment to biblical faith, and continued learning about how people carry their faith into their homes, marketplace, neighborhoods, community, and the world.
Some ten years ago Little Church defined itself as a church with a big heart, and capitalized on the strengths of its aging baby boomer congregation and its history in Lakewood. It began creatively using every square inch of its aging but very quaint Colonial style church campus. The main sanctuary continues to play host to a traditional style of worship with its liturgy, choir, bells, and the sounds of congregational singing backed by an historic pipe organ, and a contemporary service backed by an excellent praise band. Off campus is the place for a style of worship for a younger crowd that is less oriented toward church, where jeans and a cup of coffee accompany people who still seek God. All services find a mix of ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities, while the church as a whole continues to build its increasingly younger congregation with high energy programs for children, youth, and families. And in between services and Sundays, members and friends volunteer their time, energy, and prayers to work alongside a committed team of pastors and staff members.
Getting there involved a congregational commitment to look forward, rather than backward, even if that meant giving up on traditions, architecture, and space allocations that once served the congregation well. Today those who made the changes, even though they didn’t always feel good about them at the time, are grateful for what has come of their surprising willingness to do something different.
Whether in worship, a small group, age-based program, mission trip, community service outreach, learning opportunity, or a night of fun, Little Church is a warm gathering of people who love Christ, or who are making steady progress on opening up their lives to Him, and to new hope and possibilities. Little Church has always had a portion of its congregation living out their faith in the community through service clubs, schools, public service, human service agencies, and youth organizations. That is truer today than ever. The church also works hand in hand with other congregations of faith. The people of the church are nurtured in their own life and faith, growing in their beliefs, and known in the City of Lakewood as people who make a difference. With more than 600 in its worship services, activities during the week add another couple of hundred people who are regularly impacted in what is an energetic place, with a heart, and where people want to be.