If you are a fellow Christian, this is for you.
If you are a part of the church, this title may have grabbed your attention. I SINCERELY hope it did. First, let me start by saying I almost hate using this title because I am fully aware that Scripture has much to say about the church. I understand that the Lord Himself is the one who ordained the church and through His word has shown us the great importance of the church. The church is vital to the spreading of the Gospel in our world today.
I LOVE the church. I love my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, and I love my local church home. I attend church regularly. I’m involved in the ministry of the church. I. Love. The. Church.
Now that I got that out there, let me explain.
Recently, I had an encounter with a nice couple and their children at the park. I was enjoying day of playing with my kiddos and they happened to have kids similar in age. Our kids were playing together and so in the polite manner we adults began to exchange conversation as well. “Do you live in this area?” The man politely asked. I answered his simple question and then said, “what about you guys?” He responded and followed up his answer with “I’m the pastor of thus and such church here in town.” I replied telling him that I knew of the church he was talking about and mentioned that my dad too is a pastor.
“So, what denomination are you?” he asked. This question seemed to rub me the wrong way but I politely responded anyways…And then it happened…. With the next question from his lips I suddenly felt like I had been smacked in the face with a “churchy” 2X4. To be honest, I was almost appalled. I wasn’t even quite sure how to respond.
He didn’t ask me about my relationship with Christ. He didn’t ask me if I personally attended church. He didn’t even ask me what I believe. He said, “So, what type of baptism do you guys believe in, do you pour? Sprinkle? Or do you guys believe in submersion?”…….. In my head I was thinking “REALLY!?!? What the heck difference does that make?”….. Instead I smiled and simply said, “You know it really doesn’t matter to us. Some of us have preferences, but at the end of the day the only thing we care about is that someone’s life has been changes for and because of Jesus Christ.”……
That day I left the park with turmoil in my heart. I was SO annoyed, and I wasn’t even sure why. And then, I remembered….I remembered why those simple questions would bother me so deeply. I was SO annoyed because I have been around “churchy” people my entire life. I have been around people who cared more about me wearing the proper church attire Sunday morning than they cared about what was going on in my heart. I have been around people who were passionate about the type of baptism that must be practiced and the denominational title that must be shown, but seemed to lack passion about the things that REALLY matter. I’ve experienced people who cared more about my “churchy” face that I put on to show up Sunday morning than the real life stuff that was happening in me the rest of the week. People who could talk about traditions, and religion, and the church carpet color all stinkin’ day….. And you know what, when eternity comes NONE OF THAT STUFF MATTERS.
In my heart I was so thankful he had asked that question to ME, a pastor’s kid who is walking with the Lord and does have a positive view of the church. I thought, what if he had asked that question to someone who already had a negative view of the church and it’s “churchy” people? What if he would have asked that question to someone who didn’t even know Jesus Christ for themselves?
Here’s the thing. Many of the “churchy” people I have interacted with, I know their intentions were good. That pastor at the park, I KNOW his heart was in the right place. WHY? Because he, his wife, and kids continued to interact with us throughout the day. They were joyful and kind. They helped me lift my kiddo into the swing. They let my kids pet their dog. It was obvious they loved people. Their hearts were good. They love the Lord.
AND you know what, I’m sure I’m guilty of doing the same type of thing a time or two.
SO, this message is for me, and this message is for you. It’s not a message to stop talking about the Gospel, or to stop being passionate about the church. But this is the message:
Stop going out into the world and asking “churchy” questions! STOP asking questions that have NO affect on the eternity of that person’s soul. STOP asking them things that are meaningless, and empty, and “religious”. STOP! I’m sincerely begging you. Because I as a believer and part of the church was really turned off to the church by those seemingly religious questions, and I have to believe the same would be true for those who aren’t a part of the church, who don’t know Jesus Christ.
Go out into the world and love people, get to know them, ask them what they believe in, and share with them what you believe! Share with them the love of Jesus Christ todayJ, not the method of church baptism that you prefer….
John 14:6 “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’.”