By Pastor Perry Noble
If you want to build a great church then go after the people that no one else wants! That’s what Jesus did…and because of that we are included in HIS Kingdom. Quite often something will happen in our church that will remind me that, though we are far from perfect, we are going after the people that I believe Jesus would have gone after…
So…the other day in our children’s area this happened…
A first time visitor (probably around 9 or 10 years old) walked into our 4th-5th grade room in KidSpring at our Anderson campus and was BLOWN away!
He looked at the children’s worker who met him at the door, and, after looking around the room he said, “you guys have a wii?”
“Yep,” she said.
“And you guys have a PSIII?” he said!
“Yes sir, we sure do,” she replied.
“And we can play these for free?” He asked.
“Yep,” she answered.
Then he turned to his friend and said out loud, “This Sh_t is awesome!”
Now I am quite sure that makes some of you very uncomfortable; after all, you don’t want the cussing kids coming into church and messing up your perfect child.
However…after hearing this story from one of our children’s staff I was INCREDIBLY pumped up because I thought, “THAT is why we do church!” I know many churches would not want a kid like that…but we do because HE MATTERS TO JESUS…even though his behavior is not perfect!
Here is what I know about that kid…
- He was greeted by children’s workers that made it a point to learn his name.
- He was treated like he was special, not like an outcast.
- He was NOT taken to the bathroom where his mouth was washed out with soap; in fact, he wasn’t even rebuked. (Why in the world does the church expect those who do not know Christ to act as if they do? It is the most ridiculous/stupid idea!!!)
- He was placed into an environment where he was taught the Scriptures.
- He was placed into an environment where he was taught about Jesus.
- He was placed into an environment where people went the extra mile to make sure the presentation was on his level.
- He matters to God; therefore, he matters to us…and we are going to continually do all that we can to reach him.
Church is not a place for “perfect people.” (And BEWARE of the church where you go and EVERYONE seems perfect!!!) It’s a place where the broken, the lonely, the addicted, and the struggling can go.
I love the fact that this kid came to our church…didn’t pretend to be someone he was not…and was STILL accepted and heard about Jesus.
The church has GOT to STOP placing expectations on people as soon as they walk in the door…
We are NOT a country club…we are a church!!!
And for those who look down on those who are “not as good as you,” remember that you were once like them (see I Corinthians 6:9-11 and Ephesians 2:1-5)…and were it not for God’s AMAZING grace…you would STILL be lost.
- People who cuss should be welcome at church…
- So should those who smell like smoke…
- So should those who smell like alcohol…
- So should those who do whatever sin you do not do…
When we get into the business of placing stipulations as to who can and cannot come to a service based on a morality code (OR a dress code) we have COMPLETELY lost sight of why Jesus came and died on a cross.
Like I said, hearing the story of that kid made my day!!! It’s why we do what we do…and it is my prayer that he eventually receives Christ, fixes his eyes on Jesus…and grows up to do AMAZING things in HIS name…all because there was a church that allowed him to come in as he was…and then begged God to not let him stay that way but rather to bring about the change HE desired in HIS time.