This is the third part in a three part series looking in more detail at our core value of being a community where it is safe to talk about and work through anything.
In part three, we discuss the idea of being a church community where it is safe to not be a Christian. What kind of church would we have to be in order to be a place where non-Christians felt safe and comfortable?
SAFE TO NOT BE A CHRISTIAN
Christianity doesn’t have the greatest reputation today. Some of that is the fault of Christians. Some of that is unfair criticism. But as people who bear the name of Jesus and are supposed to be representing him well, we should care about Christianity’s reputation to the watching world. Now, this doesn’t mean we can or should try to correct every misconception, but this does mean we can and should make Jesus beautiful and strip away the ugliness that gets associated with him.
Now, what does this have to do with being a church where it is safe to not be a Christian?
Well, think about Jesus. What was Jesus’ reputation? And what types of people were attracted to his kingdom movement?
How you answer those two questions dictates your approach to people outside the Jesus family.
For us, we want to model the Jesus way of being a safe place to people outside the community of faith. This means we serve, bless, eat with, associate with and love people who hold vastly different beliefs and ideas than what the Scriptures teach.
Let’s put it like this. What if the person today who is struggling with their sexuality says to his or her self, ‘I really need to be in a church type community, because they are the safest, most gracious and most loving people to talk to. Even though they might disagree, they are safe and loving to talk to.’
How far is the church from being that kind of community?
What would have to change?
Can we hold fast to the ancient teachings of Scripture while still being the safest and most loving community on the planet?
I think it’s possible.
It’s worth trying.
And I think it’s the heart of Jesus.