Home > acceptance, change, church > Getting it right…

Getting it right…

Yesterday, I preached about being a church for everybody and anybody, and afterwards a guy told me an interesting story.

The guy telling the story has a friend, female, who is a member of another church in our area. One Sunday afternoon, they had planned to hang after church.  He wanted to do some outdoor kind of stuff, and she was wearing a dress, so he said, “You probably want to change clothes – you can wear some of my sister’s jeans if you need to.” From there, the conversation went something like this:

She: “Oh no, I always bring a change of clothes with me on Sunday’s – in case the ushers at our church tell me I need to change clothes…”

He: “Do what now?”

She: “Well, like if they think my skirt is too short, or if I have on shorts – you can’t wear those at all… And the ushers are not supposed to let you in if you’re not dressed ‘appropriately’.”

He: “Are you serious? You mean they would keep people out if they’re wearing certain clothes?”

She: “Well… no… I’m mean, they wouldn’t really…”

He: “But you just said they would!”

She: “I know… but no… I mean…”

And we’ll let her off the hook here – and let me say that I trust the guy who told me this, and I also know the young lady, and I’m familiar with the church… If she is correctly describing the policy and practice of that church – well, I could be amazed or amused or angry about it, but mostly I’m ashamed of what that church is communicating to people who are far from God…

The fact that such things still happen today tells me that Jubilee is doing exactly what God wants us to do in our community – building a church where ANYBODY can come, no matter how they’re dressed and without regard to their life circumstances, find love and acceptance.

One of the earliest “church fights” was over some people who were trying to make folks jump through some hoops to get to God that He never intended for people to have to jump through. James – Jesus’ half-brother, and the leader of the church at Jerusalem – made this incredible statement to settle the dispute:

“It’s my judgement that we should not make it difficult for people to come to God…”

That’s the kind of pastor I want to be, and the kind of church I want Jubilee to be – but much more important than that, I believe that’s the kind of church God wants us to be.

So, don’t bring a change of clothes when you come to Jubilee – we make it easier than that to find out more about the God who loves you so much He’d rather die than live without you.

A changed life is better than changing clothes…

Categories: acceptance, change, church
  1. August 24, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Great post, Scott! I just had someone share a similar horror story with me yesterday. One of their young relatives who had strayed from God showed up at a church on Sunday hoping to come home. . . Instead, she was sent back to her home and not permitted to join the service because her dress was “too short.” She hasn’t been back to ANY church since!

    Amen to Acts 15:19. . . and with reference to whoever turned this young lady away, I would add Matthew 18:5-6

  2. greg
    August 29, 2009 at 10:08 am

    Great blog Scott. Amazing to look back at where we have come from…and even more amazing to look down the road at where we are going. Keep knocking it out of the park!

  3. saunger
    September 3, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    One of the best worship leaders I’ve ever had the privilege to work under showed up his first Sunday at a 400+ congregation church with spiked bright blue hair. (I’m not sure what his clothes looked like.) He was in a rock band, his girlfriend had broken up with him because she got saved and told him she couldn’t live that life anymore but lovingly invited him to her new church. So he came and just waited for someone to make some sort of comment about his appearance so he could blow off the whole church scene, but no one did to his amazement. He kept coming back and got saved too, and they are married and are an awesome worship leader team now!

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