“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28.
If you were attending a church worship service in 1966 and then returned to the same church in 2016, the changes would be noticeable, but not dramatic. For example, you will in many cases no longer see or hear a choir. Another is that people dress more casual and third, you will see more technology such as projectors, screens and sound systems. If you attended a church in 1966 as a visitor, you would probably hear the words, “Will all our visitors please stand?” The intention was good, but people who were brave enough to walk through the doors of your church, the last thing they wanted was to be singled out. Today, we try to walk up to to them, introduce ourself and learn their name.
Most of the changes were designed to create a more welcoming church. We changed worship styles, we trained greeters and ushers, we wore name tags, we percolated coffee, we honed our skills at hospitality. All this was not about getting the world into God’s church; it’s about getting the church into God’s world. It is about being a church unchurched people love to attend. A church where everybody is welcome.
You are welcome if you are single, married, divorced, gay, rich or poor, whether you speak english with a Boston accent or yo no habla Ingles. It does not matter if you are a newborn, four score and seven years old, or a teenager growing up too fast. You are welcome if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or sound like a water buffalo blaring over a PA system. You are welcome if you just got out of jail or haven’t been in a church since your infant baptism. You are welcome if you believe or if you have real doubts about organized religion. You are welcome if you work too hard or don’t work.
You are welcome if you have a theology degree or if you got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. And you are welcome if you are black, brown, yellow, or white.
At one time the primary division in the church was between Jews and Gentiles. Some Jews who had joined the movement of Christianity were trying to force non-Jewish (Gentile) believers to perform the Jewish rituals. They argued that to be a good Christian, they had to do all the right Jewish religious activities. Paul addressed the subject in Romans: “Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him.” (Romans 10:12).
We don’t determine people’s value; God does. That is because we were all leveled at the cross. The gospel is the great equalizer. There is no place in the Church for discrimination or prejudice as we strive to become more like Jesus.
- All people are leveled at the cross. Agree or disagree and why?
- Should every Christian be seeking to reach those who are culturally different or is this just the gift of some?
- What are some of the culturally different groups in our city that the Lord might want us to reach? What should you do?