Have you ever felt you were overlooked?
Have you ever visited a church and been overlooked? It’s an incredibly awkward and uncomfortable feeling. What’s odd is the churches that appear to be unfriendly to outsiders can be full of the friendliest people in the world…if you are an “insider.”
The church needs to remember that Jesus came for the “outsiders” — the lost, broken, hurting, alone, overlooked and poor. He came for those who were religion rejected. I am of the belief that people don’t go to church because they have been to church. They come, it doesn’t happen and they don’t come back. And many times, the reason they don’t come back is because they don’t feel welcome.
Let’s face it, those of us who have been in church for a while…we have our own “language.” On Sunday, you might hear, “Well, praise the Lord, Brother Ben. God is so awesome, He touched me and I received a new heart when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. Yes, sir…I have been redeemed, my sins are forgiven, I am sanctified and on my way to heaven, sealed by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Now, if you are in an evangelical church, you probably caught most of tha. But, let’s say you are a stranger off the street and you walk into that on any given Sunday morning, how much of that makes sense to a person who hasn’t accepted Christ as their Savior?
Too often our focus in inward. What can the church do for me? What can the church provide for our children and our youth? What kind of a nursery program do they have? How will my needs be met? Do I like the songs they sing, do I like the message I hear? And if I don’t, I want you to know that we are “only shopping” and we probably won’t be back.
What happened to the day where people went to church to worship God? They went to church to ask His forgiveness, listen to a message and then go out into the world and try to live the message they heard? What happened to the church being the church in the community? Making a difference and changing lives? I think we have forgotten to “Keep the main thing the main thing.”
See, Jesus built His church and told us to go out, as His disciples, and compel the lost to come in. Yet, we have become comfortable inside the church today that we no longer look outside to those who are perishing.
Erwin McManus asks the question, “When have we forgotten that the church doesn’t exist for us? We are the church and we exist for the world.” John F. Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.”
Maybe that’s the question, we, as Christians ought to be asking today, “Ask not what your church can do for you, but ask what you can do for your church.”
How many people will be in Heaven because of what you have done this year? And that, is “Something to Think About.”
Pastor Thad Gifford is the founding and lead pastor of the Crossroads Community Church, 62 E. Second St., London. He can be reached at (740) 852-7800, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at their website www.3c-church.org.