Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What church is all about

One night after youth group, I was asking the other youth leaders for advice on how to get the youth excited about the Scripture we were studying.  We were studying the first 11 chapters of Genesis, which I think are some of the most exciting and rich texts in Scripture, but somehow I was failing to get them excited about it.  As we talked about the youth, one father and I started to talk about the church in general.  I told him that I thought one of the most beautiful things about this church is how welcoming they are.  There is one member of the youth group who is of mixed race, and there are four children of mixed race in the children’s group.  The church has welcomed, embraced, and made them part of their community.  They are just as much a part of the youth and children’s groups as any members of those groups.  This was possible because some members of the congregation are very committed to welcoming everyone into their community.  There is, of course, still room for growth.  The journey toward faithfulness is slow and requires patience, but this was a real glimpse of the Kingdom of God.  

When I complimented the church for being so welcoming, the father said, “Well, I think that is what church is all about.”  He is right.  Church is a community of people who were once strangers but are now brothers and sisters.  It is a community that is open to receiving the stranger and incorporating them into their community.  It is a community that can welcome the stranger into its midst so that its members can learn from each another and grow together in their journey of discipleship. 

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