I was reading this blog post here and I thought that I had my own take on it, felt compelled to write my own take on it at any rate.
Because how do we react when someone different comes into our church? Like honestly, how do we react? There’s the Sunday school answer, which is that we welcome them lovingly with open arms, but do we really?
At the church I go to now, we have quite a few homeless people that come in occasionally. And to be honest, when I was first confronted with these people it made me uncomfortable. Everyone was like me in the church I grew up in. Well not exactly like me. I mean some people were older or younger, but for the most part, we all came from the same background. Nobody stuck out. Nobody failed to fit in.
But here – it’s not like that. Here I’ve been confronted by the fact that I’m not always the most welcoming person. And it is not easy to write that and put it out on my blog for the whole world to see, but I’m trying to be honest. I’m trying to tell you the truth. Christians aren’t perfect. I’m not perfect and I never want to put up the face that pretends to be. Often I do because that’s what I feel is expected of me. But it’s not helpful. But what is helpful is talking about our struggles as Christians.
So yes, I don’t always know what to say or how to approach that person who enters our church who is different from me. What I used to do was just make myself so busy talking to the people I already knew that I didn’t have time to say hello to the people I didn’t know. It’s funny, most people think I’m really outgoing and sociable, because the truth is, I have no issue getting up and speaking in front of 500 people I don’t know. That doesn’t bother me. But for some reason, speaking one on one with people I don’t know makes me a bit afraid. I don’t know what to say.
But I’ve been trying. And I don’t always do a good job of it. Sometimes I think I use Dom as an excuse not to talk to new people – I’m too busy taking care of him. Not that sometimes that isn’t completely true (some things just can’t wait) but other times, I do think I use it as an excuse. Like I said, I’m Christian but I’m not perfect.
But honestly, those people are just as loved by God as the people who are like me. And they deserve to know it. We talk about the love of God a lot, but I think most of the time we do a really poor job of showing that love to other people. I mean, the love of Christ compels us to love our neighbors, but to be honest, I don’t always do so well in that department.
So I guess I’m putting this out there as a challenge to myself – now that I’ve written this down and made it public, I need to follow through with it. I need to walk the talk as well as talking the talk. It’s scary to me, just a little bit, but I really do want to do it. I want those people to know they are just as loved as everybody else.
What do you think? Do you find it easy to talk to new people in your church or does it intimidate you? Do you have any strategies that might make it easier for me to talk to new people at church? Leave your thoughts in the comments!