07 Feb Welcoming the Un-churched to Church: Being Ourselves
Originally posted on October 15, 2004
“You are the light of the world
let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 6: 14,18
Last week I encouraged us to learn how to speak so that un-churched people can hear and understand the gospel when they come to church. We should replace opinionated, overly religious, and critical speech with clear, gracious, and helpful speech. But this doesn’t mean we should stop being ourselves. Instead, we should be who Christ made us to be.
Jesus made us to be the light of the world, and when we let our light shine, we are being ourselves. It is our light that draws people to us. Like a shining lamp in the window of a house that tells the traveler he is not too late to knock on the door and find a place of rest, our shinning light lets people know that they can come into our church and find rest for their souls.
Here are three ways to be ourselves and light a welcoming lamp for un-churched people.
1. Let’s be ourselves by worshipping God. We all want to connect with something bigger than ourselves, and we want to do it with other people. That’s why we go to movies, football games, and concerts. There we find both connection to a bigger purpose and community with other people, even if we don’t know all of them.
When Christians gather together to worship God, we are declaring that God is the ultimate Being worthy of ultimate adoration. He is the soul’s most needed connection. We are also showing how God is to be practically worshipped in the context of Christian community. We are letting our light shine. The un-churched person who sees us worship is stirred by God’s spirit, convicted by God’s word, and led to repentance and faith. Not only are the un-churched welcomed to church, they become a part of the church by faith in Christ.
2. Let’s be ourselves by being honest. You have heard that people say they don’t go to church because the church is full of hypocrites. But have you ever heard anyone say they don’t go to church because the church is full of real people who are honest about their struggles and are finding real help from God’s truth? I haven’t. In fact, honesty in church actually helps people who see their need for Christ feel welcome to come to church. Church should be a place where sin, suffering, and the real issues of life are dealt with honestly and in the light of God’s truth in the Bible. There is something inviting about a place where people are not claiming to be what they are not, but helping each other become what they can be.
3. Let’s be ourselves by loving each other. Our light shines as we do the good works of love. By loving each other, un-churched people will know we are Jesus’ disciples (John 13:35). Jesus wants people to know we are His disciples so they will know how to become a disciple as well. When we shine the light of love, we are welcoming un-churched people to church, and to Christ.
When you come to church this week, be yourself. Worship God, live honestly, and love. Together, let’s leave the light in the window for anyone who wants to come in.