Church or Club

inclusive church 2

One day, a long-time, very wealthy church member approached a new pastor and asked: “Pastor, are we going to be the kind of church that welcomes and accepts those people?

By “those” people, I am sure he was referring to people of color, people who do not speak English, people from other faiths, poor people, people covered with tattoos, undocumented people, mentally-ill people, LGBTQ people, people with police records or anyone who does not look like or think like him.

The new pastor answered, “Of course we are going to be that kind of church.”

The wealthy man replied, “I suggest that you do everything in your power to prevent that from happening, or I am going to take my family and my money and find another church!”

The new pastor responded: “Well, you are in luck. Because you will not have to search very long to find another church where you will be more comfortable.”

The sad truth is that there are more churches that practice an exclusivity that is anti-Christ than there are churches that practice an inclusivity that is Christ-like.

Which begs the question: “Can a church practice exclusivity and continue to be a church?”

Of course, the answer is “no.” Churches that do not love and welcome all people in the name of Christ are not churches at all, but are only the worst kind of club.

2 thoughts on “Church or Club

  1. Churches everywhere exclude women from ordination, serving as deacons or elders, teaching men’s Sunday School classes and even from speaking behind the pulpit. Divorced men and women are excluded from ordination and serving as deacons. Racist tendencies still exclude whole segments of the population from many churches. They may not be asked to leave if they visit a worship service, but neither will they ever feel fully welcomed. I have heard the N word more in church than outside of church. And, tragically, I know of churches that have been excommunicated from their denomination for failing to exclude members of the LGBTQ community from baptism. And many more denominations are excommunicating pastors who marry same-sex couples or even allow them to serve through the church. I know of churches that have split because members did not want their children to share the same baptismal water with Hispanics and African Americans. I know of people who have walked out of services when prayers were offered to God in Spanish. And I am afraid that this is the real reason for the decline in church membership today. People outside of the church know enough about Jesus and his love for all people to know that there is something terribly wrong with the exclusivity that is present within the church. However, the good news is that there is a revival, an awakening or another reformation taking place in the church today as people are seeking to truly follow the words and deeds of Jesus. Churches are practicing the radical and offensive grace of Christ which welcomes the prodigal, accepts the sinner, embraces all people as God’s children, and rebukes the Pharisee.

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