Over the last few weeks my church has been discussing its mission. We’ve been asking the question, “Is there not a cause?” The church does have a great cause for Christians to rally behind.
Whenever you talk about being devoted to the church, however, the elephant in the room is the countless Christians who have been disenchanted with the church. Whether through disappointment or personal offense, there are many Christians who love Jesus yet hate religion.
At Redeemer Church, we want to reach both the unsaved and the unchurched. That’s our cause. This week I am going to blog some thoughts based on my message on this subject today. I’ll post more fully tomorrow, but for now will start with a story.
If you were to talk to my wife’s grandmother, you’d hear a story of someone who was offended by the church. She had been part of a church many years ago during a time of suffering in her life. She lost a child and almost lost her own life. Because of these circumstances, she was unable to attend church regularly through her process of grieving and recovery.
The leaders of the church she was in at time time noticed her lack of attendance. Instead of asking why she was not able to attend or understanding what she was going through and offering to organize care for her, they took exception to the fact that she was not faithfully attending, visited her house to talk to her about it and threatened to excommunicate her for not attending.
Needless to say, this left Nana deeply offended. While it’s hard to believe that a group of people could be so uncaring, it’s not hard to understand why Nana withdrew from church involvement and never wanted to set foot in that church’s door again. She was hurt and mistreated by Christians, and she withdrew from fellowship.
Fortunately, this particular story has a good ending. After many years she did begin to re-engage with a different church where she has not had the same experience. But there are many other similar stories that have not yet seen a happy ending.
As Christians, we are called to reach people like Nana. There are many Christians who spend their Sunday’s at home, having been disconnected from God’s people either forcibly or by their own choice. We’re certainly called to reach the unsaved, but we should also reach the unchurched, extend the love of Christ to them and enjoy fellowship with them.
We’ll get to the “how” and “why” we should do this soon. For now, perhaps we should just pray. Over the next day, pray that God would put people in your path who love Jesus and hate religion and give you the opportunity to engage with them and care for them.