Welcoming ‘Outsiders’ In

Ever wondered what it’s like coming to church for the first time?  Ever seen a new face and tried to imagine what is going through their heads? Even though I’ve been there myself, it’s not always easy for me to remember what it was like.  The following article is taken from theresurgence.com and offers a thought provoking perspective.  If you are considering coming to church for the first time, then please, do.  You’ll certainly be welcome in Rosskeen, and I hope you’ll fell just as welcome in any church which follows Jesus Christ.

Ferg

I’m Not a Christian, But I’m Coming to Your Church on Sunday

Okay I’m not a Christian, but I’ve finally made the decision to come to your church this Sunday. Don’t expect much from me though. If something comes up I might not, but right now I’m planning on it. I feel like I need to go, but I’m not sure why. I want to tell you a few things about myself before you meet me.

1.  I’m not going to understand religious language or phrases so be aware of that when we talk.

I don’t understand slain in the spirit, God is moving in me, covered in the blood, I need to die to self, you just need to be in the Word, what you need is a new life, etc. If we have conversation filled with religious talk, I’m probably not going to understand half of the words…and maybe think you’re a little crazy.

2.  When you ask me how I’m doing, know that I don’t trust you.

I’m probably going to lie and tell you I’m fine. It’s not that I don’t want to tell you; it’s just that I come from some pain and am not sure if I trust you yet. How about you tell me your story first? If I like you and get the vibe that you’re not trying to capture my soul or anything, I’ll tell you mine.

3.  I’ve got pretty rough language and I can be bitter and angry about some things.

If I sense in you a mindset of superiority, I’m out. If you are just waiting for your turn to talk instead of truly listening to me, I’m not going to be interested. Don’t expect me to be exactly like you.

4.  Don’t make a big deal of introducing me to everyone you know.

I understand a couple of people, but please; don’t set up a welcoming line. I’m just there to check it out; I need a bit of space.

5.  I’m going to be looking for genuine interest in me.

I don’t want to feel like your personal salvation project or be a notch on your “I saved one” belt. If this Jesus is who you say he is, then I’m looking forward to seeing him in you. That’s how it works, right?

6.  I’m going to have questions.

I need truth, not your preferences or your religion, so can you just tell me what the Bible says?

7.  I need to feel welcomed.

Is there a time limit or something on my visit before I’m supposed to feel unwelcomed? I mean, I’ve been to other churches and there seemed to be a push for me to make up my mind or something. How long until I’m unwelcomed?

Thanks for hearing me out. I’m pretty sure I’m going to come this Sunday. But I might not.

The idol test

I came across this article on the resurgence website (www.theresurgence.com) and I think it’s an excellent resource.  It’s absolutely true to say that our hearts are idol factories – even as Christians we very often make idols of things.  And it’s worth pointing out (again) that 99% of the time the things we make into idols are good things in and of themselves.

How do we fare as we look through the list?  Hopefully better than me :-(

Friends, lets root out our idols and strive to serve noone and nothing other than our Lord Jesus Christ.  He is our Lord and may that really be the case in our lives.

Answer the questions honestly (as I must).  Not just to give the answers we know we should give, but what the reality is.

The full article can be visited here: http://theresurgence.com/2011/04/10/11-ways-to-find-your-idols

And as a side-note I would recommend visiting the resurgence website (if you don’t already).  It is a wonderful resource and there are also podcasts and vodcasts available through itunes for free.

This is not about making anyone feel “bad” – this is for the same reason as the resurgence published it.  To build a culture of asking the deep heart level questions, to encourage repentance and actually apply the Gospel to our own hearts and seek Jesus together as a community.  Let’s get idol smashing!

Here are the questions:

  1. What do I worry about most?
  2. What, if I failed or lost it, would cause me to feel that I did not even want to live?
  3. What do I use to comfort myself when things go bad or get difficult?
  4. What do I do to cope? What are my release valves? What do I do to feel better?
  5. What preoccupies me? What do I daydream about?
  6. What makes me feel the most self-worth? Of what am I the proudest? For what do I want to be known?
  7. What do I lead with in conversations?
  8. Early on what do I want to make sure that people know about me?
  9. What prayer, unanswered, would make me seriously think about turning away from God?
  10. What do I really want and expect out of life? What would really make me happy?
  11. What is my hope for the future?

Honda