Ever wear flip flops to church? Years ago, I was asked by a deacon in church, “are those sandals?” His question was obviously rhetorical. He was implying that I had worn improper footwear to church. Without thinking much, I gave the rather juvenile comeback: “I’m pretty sure Jesus wore them.” Today, I probably wouldn’t be so outspoken against an elder. Yet, I was upset that he would be focused so much on my attire.
I’ve visited many churches last year when I moved to South Carolina, and was exposed to a variety of “welcome” methods as well as church cultures. From the extreme reformed Baptist church, to the mega-church concert, from the small traditional southern Baptist church, to the technological simulcast, each church has its own culture or traditions. And their acceptance of you, as an outsider, differ from widely open to narrowly closed. I’ve experienced all of those just within a 15 mile radius of Greenville.
And as I think about those, I have to compare them to the “churches” at the time of Jesus. If we place ourselves 2000 years ago, we’d find the same thing. From the elite religious leaders, having beautiful temples, where they sold their goods, to the countryside revival Sermon on the Mount. Even then, not everybody got it. And even those that did, had different ways to share the gospel.
I’m not “digging” at any church for their method. However, I will, as Jesus did, condemn those who don’t love others. If we are so focused on how people are dressed, or what their current life is like, then we have missed the boat. Jesus was condemned by leaders for fellowshipping with sinners. But He said…..
10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
We shouldn’t be so focused on our methods in the church, but how we show the love of Jesus outside of church. Please take the time to watch this video on what church should and COULD be like…..
Making Disciples: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJWkQ9UP_m8