I read an article over at faithstreet.com, “7 Things I wish the Church Knew About Me” and it got me thinking. It was one of many articles I’ve read about how the church gets it wrong. And I get that. Sometimes I think we get a raw deal though. I am the church. I don’t always represent well. Thankful, so thankful, for a space of grace. A space all believers call home.
So please, go easy on those of us trying to do the thing in our buildings of worship. We aren’t all out to get you. Or judge you.
Here is my list of what I wish a church visitor knew about me:
1. Oh, how I love Jesus.
And the very old, traditional hymn coining this phrase! I attend a service on Sundays to refuel and be taught. While I know the church is not perfect, I believe Jesus wants us there. I hope you’ll find our time together worshipful.
2. There are some Sundays I am ready for you.
I put on my extroverted leadership hat and work the room. I greet new faces, chit chat with those I don’t know well. Religious networking at its finest. Some Sundays. Other times, I am empty. I need church to fill me up. I need familiar faces to greet me. Forgive me when I don’t have much to offer you.
3. Please consider your posture.
If I see you sneak in last minute, last row; with your head down and arms crossed, I find you unapproachable. I realize church comes with baggage for many people, but I need a fighting chance.
4. I would like to see you outside of Sunday morning.
If you would step out of your comfort zone and attend just one of the activities we organize; a Bible study, a prayer meeting, a social event, stop by a ministry table after the service, I promise our connection will be deepened exponentially. A smile and a handshake on Sunday morning does not a relationship build. Actually, scratch the handshake. Another thing I find difficult.
5. I am not judging you.
I am way too self-consumed for that. Much like you, I worry someone might have seen me out in the real world last week; being rude to a cashier, yelling at my kid or driving way too fast down the highway. I have my own stuff. Too much to be condemning yours.
6. We have a lot more common ground than differences.
I find it hard to make time for my husband, my family, my church, my work and my community. There are never enough hours in the day. I pray all the time I won’t let anything slip. Sound familiar?
7. I know I have some go-to phrases that come across as insincere.
I will work on that. No more, “Is this your first time?” when you’ve been attending off and on for six months. Never a “So, are you a Christian?” when you might be struggling to find any semblance of a faith.
We seek the same Jesus. Every one of us has a need for Him deep inside only He can fill. I realize it’s MY church and meeting me halfway seems unrealistic. So how about taking just one step, one step in my direction? Then, I’ll try to do my part to make you feel welcome.