The world is made up of many souls and each one is precious and loved by our Father. If only we showed that same love towards one another. Our place of worship is a hospital for the broken; not a social club for the saints. I say this because I very well know that we have a tendency to gravitate towards those that we know in our little clicks. And this very thing was recently brought to my attention.
No church is perfect; everyone is at different levels and stages of their walk with Christ. It takes all of us working together to help one another in our walk. Everyone is gifted with certain talents to contribute. Just like our physical bodies it takes many members to make a whole body and each member plays an important role. But sometimes we tend to stay in our safe place with those who are more like us. However, God desires us to step out of our comfort zones and be extraordinary while reaching the lost, the broken and bruised.
I recently had to ask for forgiveness and repent for I would never intentionally do any wrong to anyone. But this got me to thinking very deeply and praying that we; including myself, must make a conscious effort to be more observant of others. Visitors must feel welcome when they enter our church (place of worship) or they will not desire to return. We as Christians are to display the love of Christ to everyone regardless of age, sex, race, looks, etc.; not just a select few. God doesn’t just love a select few and Jesus died for everyone!
In a post on Facebook last week I was reminded that we have failed. I know as Christians we aren’t perfect; however we must be more conscious of the precious souls that enter our sanctuary, our work place, our home, etc. People are watching to see the real deal. If a visitor comes to our place of worship regardless of where we attend and they aren’t even acknowledged or greeted by anyone, then why would they desire to come back?
The broken are looking for hope and to see if there is even the slightest possibility of something different than what they are living. And some are just needing something and not quite sure what it may be. But coming into Gods presence is an awesome start to finding their way. I know that having a personal relationship with God is all we need. But if what our visitors see inside the church is the same as in the world; then they may feel hopeless.
We as Christians (Disciples of Christ) are to display the light of God everywhere we are, inside and outside of the place of worship for we are the church. Church is not confined inside the walls of a building. Are we being welcoming and loving? Is Gods light shining? Are we being true examples of Christ to win souls for His kingdom?
I have been that person who felt unwelcome, unacknowledged or overly acknowledged by stares due to perhaps the way I was dressed or because I was new. Walking into a church where you don’t know anyone is scary. And when you walk in with jeans, raggedy or even revealing clothing and everyone else dressed in Sunday best makes you feel a little uncomfortable and just plain out of place. If just one person will genuinely say “I am so glad you joined us today, please come back again” it could make such a huge difference. For some souls it could be the first time they have ever stepped foot inside of a church or place of worship. Don’t we want them to come back? We are to win souls for Gods kingdom and if we don’t make them feel welcome, we inadvertently may cause them to not return and will be held accountable.
When a person enters our sanctuary and is willing to listen to the Word of God; as they take it in; it is food for the soul. His manifest presence comes when we come together corporately to praise and worship. This creates an atmosphere where God can move and anything is possible and the lost can be saved, healing takes place, and the prodigals come home. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17 NIV) Opportunity for change in lives begins when we hear Gods Word. We want everyone in the presence of our Father.
****Deutoronmy 31:12-13 (NIV) “Assemble the people men, women and children, and the foreigners residing in your towns—so they can listen and learn to fear the Lord your God and follow carefully all the words of this law. Their children, who do not know this law, must hear it and learn to fear the Lord your God as long as you live in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”
I know not everyone is the same and there are true Disciples of Christ that love people right where they are. And although we may not all have it all together; there is genuine love within my church (place of worship) and in others too. I have learned from my Dad in the faith that it doesn’t matter what a person wears to church just as long as they will walk through the doors; that gives God the opportunity to knock on their heart. If they will answer then God can give them life and life more abundantly.
We must welcome with open arms everyone just as God always welcomes us and without judgement. Love people where they are, not for whom we want them to be; but love them too much to leave them there!
On the outside looking in, what do you see? Are you loving strangers? Are you welcoming visitors? If a homeless person came in and sat beside you wearing raggedy and dirty clothes and they were smelly what would you do? It’s a heart condition! Remember Jesus died for everyone! How does the outside see you?
To God be all the glory, honor and praise!
Much Love to You All,