Saturday, January 22, 2011
I attend an amazing church here in Cartersville. My philosophy for the people who walk through those doors on a Sunday morning is this:
Plain and simple, I'm glad you came. Whether you were there early to serve and help make the service possible, or came 15 minutes early to make sure you got your coffee and donuts, I'm glad you came. If you arrive late, I don't care, I'm just happy you chose to come anyway rather than skip the service altogether. I don't pretend to know what it took to get you there. I'm just glad you came.
It doesn't matter to me if you're in your Sunday best, ironed your clothes, curled your hair or even washed it. I don't mind if you look like you are wearing the same sweats you fell asleep on the couch with last night. Perhaps you planned your outfit the previous Sunday. Maybe you're extremely depressed and don't have the energy to think about what you should wear. Or perhaps you make your home in any dry doorway you can find. As far as I'm concerned, I'm just glad you came.
I don't mind if you need to bring your children into the service. It is not for me to presume that you have no problems leaving your children with our wonderful nursery or children's worship leaders. If your child is crying, I believe most people have the common sense to take them out into the lobby. And if they don't, maybe it is their own way of calling attention to themselves. Perhaps they themselves are crying out for help. If your baby is laughing and giggling, I'm perfectly okay with that too. I see Jesus so clearly in the smiles of infants, and I know how to listen to a message at the same time. If you are using a cell phone in the middle of a service, I don't even mind that. Maybe you have a family issue that you are waiting for news on, maybe something in the message urged you to look up a passage in your online bible, or maybe you have ADHD and the only way you can focus on a message is by playing Bejewelled at the same time. I'm just glad you came.
And you know, I don't care if you sing at the top of you lungs and raise your arms with the worship music, or stand stoically, apparent to onlookers to be completely unmoved. It is not a testimony of your faith, or your heart, or your desire to be close to our Heavenly Father. He alone knows you that thoroughly...your struggles, your passions, your innermost thoughts.
Whether you are there because you like the music, wish to hear the message, want to see your friends, or are not even sure why you showed up that day, that's okay. I don't mind if you're there out of a sense of duty, are just checking out our "style of worship", or just need to be around people. The point is that you came expecting, or at the very least hoping, to meet God in one way or another. And I have faith that He will show up whenever and however you do that. It may not be in the way we would expect, but He never fails.
I believe we all need to remember that when we enter the doors of a church, we do so as His unified children. And we "all fall short of the glory of God, yet we are all justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus"(Romans 3:23-24). So I welcome you with open arms...and I am so glad you came.
Photograph: Pure Energy