Yesterday in church, Pastor Kevin related a story. A woman came to him asking questions about our church, she was confused. She had been visiting a few different churches in the area. On Easter, she had been one of the 967 people to walk “through the arch” and give her life to Christ. She wanted to get baptised but she had some questions. She related an experience she recently had at another church she was thinking of attending. She saw that they needed help in the Children’s ministry so she went to volunteer. She was told that she would have to change her attire, “If you come back in a skirt,” they said.
Kevin described her clothing as “urban.” In her own words she says: “I dress like I am from the hood.” That included a few tattoos and piercings. She asked, “Would I have to change my clothes to get baptized?”
Am I welcome here just the way I am?
She also asked that same church for help moving but once they found out she was living with her boyfriend they said, “As long as you are living with him, we can’t help you.”
The door slammed the second time and the message was clear; make yourself and your life presentable first, then we can help.
She was justified in having some concerns and questions and I am very happy to say that Pastor Kevin assured her that she was indeed welcome just the way she was. That’s why I attend the church I do. But clearly, it seems some churches are handing out a different message that the one Jesus handed out. What they are asking for, God doesn’t even ask. Jesus asks us to simply come.
His grace extends to everyone but without Him it is impossible to change.
There is no effective or lasting change without Jesus coming first. It is not even possible to be sanctified without the work of the Holy Spirit, but it seems some churches are asking for the impossible. In effect, they are saying that anyone is welcome, but only as long as they clean up at the door. Until churches change that type of thinking, lives will remain untouched, unchanged. We will still have dead congregations that are still thinking they can make themselves acceptable without Jesus.
God wants to reach everyone. It doesn’t matter what we have or what we don’t have, what our background is, or what may be buried in our past. I like how Pastor Kevin said it. Instead of thinking, “What’s in it for me, we need to be asking how can I be more like God in this situation?”
Not what can I get out of today, but how can I show His love today?
Linking up with Michelle today at the Hear it on Sunday Community.