Sundays like today are one of the main reasons I do what I do. The whole morning, from start to finish, blessed and encouraged me, and I hope it did the same for you. I know that the ones who gathered this morning do not want a sterile, decaying church. I believe we want to see real change happen in real people. I believe that we want to trust Jesus to be that change rather than be Jesus’ triage nurse, telling him what’s wrong with everyone and what they need.
For our church, I think it’s time for a leap of faith. . .We don’t know what happens when we say, “There’s a place for you at our church.” Many may worry it gets too messy. Perhaps we wonder if it will become unsafe. Moreover, we don’t know who would show up. If people are really invited in to find life in Jesus, who might show?
A very faithful man at our church shared with me something after the service that saddened me but did not surprise me.
“When I invite people to our church, they tell me they aren’t rich enough.”
Stop and read that again. Do I think we try to present that image? No. Do I think we want to present that image? No. But perhaps we don’t realize (myself included) that everything we do communicates something, and a number of people hear “You have to be rich” or “You have to be educated” or “You have to be white” or “You have to be Republican” or “You have to be clean-shaven and well-dressed” or “You have to have it together.” My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
There are all kinds of things I didn’t talk about. I didn’t talk about how, though we want to include anyone looking for Jesus, we don’t let anyone serve in our children’s ministry. I didn’t talk about church discipline and how that aligns with God’s grace. I didn’t talk about the Trinity. I’m sure that irked somebody. Today was about room at the table of grace.
And I think we have it.
Resources from the Sermon:
- Flatirons Community Church–This is the church pastored by the man in the clip above (Jim Burgen). You’ll find they work hard to find ways to love people and love Jesus at the same time. His message at the Exponential Conference in Orlando this year was worth the price of admission. However, you’d have to buy the digital access pass to watch it.
- Three Immodestly Dressed Women–This is the blog post I referenced reminding us that how we approach people has consequences.