I love getting to visit other churches incognito. I love getting to go to other events to learn what they do well that I could use. (Before you accuse me of stealing remember we're all on the same team.) Today I got the opportunity to visit a church to hear one of my daughters sing a few holiday themed songs as a part of their school choir. I really didn't know what to expect. I knew my sweet daughter was singing and that was about it.
As we pulled up we came to a jam packed parking lot. Seriously, I had to drive down a few rows just to find a spot. I found out that this church was holding a craft show. The worship center was packed with knickknacks and Christian crud that could be mine if I brought my check book.
As we made our way towards the stage with about 30 other families I could tell that something was wrong. The "vendors" (church members who were selling their wares) were getting upset that this mob of first grade parents was disturbing their business transactions.
We all crowded around the stage to watch our kids when the person in charge asked us politely to watch our children's program (which was scheduled by invitation of the church) from behind the stage in courtesy to the vendors.
I have to tell you, the pastor inside of me was going nuts. This church had 30 young families in its doors with an incredible opportunity to share God's love with them. What did they do? They told them that they were in the way of their sale.
Our kids sang. It was the cutest thing in the world. As the 20 min show ended our faithful coordinator got back on the microphone and thanked the vendors for their patience with this choir program.
Just in case we felt like we didn't belong, yes, we were apologized for to the church members.
During Jesus' ministry he came into the temple and what he saw there was men making money on outsiders for their own profit. Jesus quickly turned over the tables and stated that His house would be a place of worship for ALL MEN.
Every church should be built with this mission. We should be built to be open and welcoming to all in order to lead them to Jesus.
The church I visited today had the incredible opportunity to love a group of people. Sadly I think they chose their back pockets over these people.
As you go to church, are you building a place where outsiders are unwelcome, or is it a place where new visitors are met with the love of Jesus?