Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Who Are The Un-Wanted at Your Church?


Does your church turn people away?

While we may never wish to admit it,
there are many who want to keep things...
the way they are now.
And in doing so, turn down opportunities
to be “Christ” to those who suffer, or are simply different.

Perhaps you have seen this behavior in action:
the inter-racially mixed couple who is asked to leave,
the homeless person who is dirty and smelly,
the single mom, struggling with doubt and living on food-stamps,
the man who arrives intoxicated and stumbling.

Or, the more common version of the “family” squabble:
the Choir versus the Worship Band -
‘old-folks’ who thinks some music is too loud and irreverent,
and ‘young-punks’, who think rock music and saggy jeans belong.

You name it, and we have seen a reason found
to disregard those different from ourselves
as less holy, less loved, 
and less deserving of God.

While serving my time, I was exposed to one group
whose sheer presence makes many ‘outside’ people
quake in fear for their lives...
they often have long hair and beards,
sleeveless shirts with multiple tattoos,
yet they came “inside” to minister to prisoners:
Bikers For Christ. (click to learn more)

I hadn’t thought about them until recently
when a young man shared a spectacular story:
It seems his father’s small church was struggling financially
and when things already seemed tight, an unexpected bill arrived.
Now, the church owed $3,000 more taxes than normal,
and knew there was no way to bring it in on such short notice.
So they held a raffle,
and while I cannot recall the prizes,
I do remember the result.

One Saturday morning, while the tables were being set up,
twenty or so ‘bikers’ rode in on their loud motorcycles.
Everyone there froze from the volume of noise.
One huge man got off his bike and approached the minister.
There was an embrace, some tears, and then a few good laughs.
Then the biker waved to his friends, and himself paid $200 for tickets.
Each biker in the group did likewise, to a lesser amount.
And by 10:30 in the morning, the small church had raised nearly $2000,
before anyone else had really shown up to participate.

When I asked the young man if the biker was a Christian,
he said he did not know.
But that somehow, the biker remembered his father’s name
from the time they spent talking in prison.
So when the biker had heard of the churches struggle,
he got his friends together,
and rode out to help.

You may not think much of this story
but maybe you could ask yourself this...
if you will not go into jail/prison to preach Christ,
will you accept those “coming-out” into your church?

Everyone deserves to know
the loving sacrifice Christ made on their behalf.
How will you see “them”?

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