Bible Study, God, Grace / Mercy, Life, Love, Peace, Righteousness, Satan/sin/evil/temptatioon, Truth

Does The Church Draw People, Or Drive Them Away? Part 1

This Is A True Story. What Would Your Church Do?

After reading this: Do you think the church is more like a harlot or a bride?

She was in her mid-to-late twenties they thought. She walked into the sanctuary just as the congregation sang its last hymn before the message.  The back row offered her an obscure seat out of view of the congregation.  She could listen and remain unnoticed. She had pulled her hair up on her head into a neat bun on top. A pretty pink bow held her hair in place. Her pink striped dress appeared freshly pressed.

As the service ended and the congregation stood to sing a final hymn she slipped out the door at the rear of the sanctuary just as quietly as she slipped in.

She returned to the same church for several more weeks. Eventually one of the ladies of the church introduced herself and the pretty young visitor to a few of her friends.

The girl still remained somewhat distant, arrived just in time for the message, then slipped out the door without hanging around to chat or visit. One of the ladies of the church invited the young visitor to dinner on the ground the church was having the next week and she said she’d bring something, but she didn’t show up for church the next week.

Eventually the church ladies invited the young visitor to their women’s Bible study on Wednesday evening after the service. The church was a large, urban, Black Baptist church in an older, slowly deteriorating area of Atlanta, so many of its members commuted from the city’s suburbs to attend church.

The shy, attractive visitor attended the Bible study for several weeks, carrying a tattered King James Bible and following along, but never participating.

One Sunday after church, and after the young visitor left the building, one of the church ladies gathered several other church ladies together.  She told her friends that one of her friends who attended another Baptist church in the next block had seen the visitor walking out of the church a few Sundays before. The church lady said her friend told her that young woman was a prostitute her friend had seen standing on a corner a few blocks from the church.

The ladies of the church decided to have an ad hoc committee meeting to decide what they would do. They didn’t think it was necessary to invite the pastor to the meeting. They decided they didn’t think they wanted women of her “vocation” they called it, in their church. The next Sunday, when the pretty young visitor left church, the eldest church lady followed her out the door and broke the news. She said the church had decided that they didn’t want her kind of people coming to their church.

Before we get all self-righteous and Pharisaical with that “church” for its own sanctimonious behavior we need to be sure we know what our church would do in a similar situation.

What if you discovered there were prostitutes coming to your church? Or drug users? Or ex-convicts?

What would your church do? Do you know? Do you even care?

Sadly, I think lots of churches would react with disdain and condemnation, and not love. The tone would be, “Let’s get rid of her.” Not “Love One Another.” The church, in my view, looks down on folks who aren’t like them. Who come from different backgrounds. Who come into their presence with a semi-trailer full of sins. It’s just gall to think that some churches would look on a young woman who God made (and who is seeking to find Him) with condemnation. How shallow! How sinful. That’s not “Love one another“. It’s “Judge one another“.

Think for a minute. Examine yourself. What would your personal response be to a young women wandering in off the streets, looking like a twenty-dollar hooker, to attend your church? If you usher, would you try to tuck her away in a back pew (with the rest of the Baptists  :>) ) If you spotted her as she walks in, would you greet her, welcome her, invite her to sit with you?

Unfortunately, many churches, in my opinion, would rather not have folks like her in their congregations, let alone invite them to become involved.  To those folks who would look down on her, I say to you that if Jesus were here, He would hang out with her. He would be drawn to her. She would be drawn to Him. He would call you hypocrites for your shameful, condescending behavior. Your holier-than-thou attitude will drive people away rather than draw them to Jesus.

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Thank you, and may God richly bless you.

4 thoughts on “Does The Church Draw People, Or Drive Them Away? Part 1

  1. I couldn’t agree more, although I do have to add… if a person goes to church and has things hanging out…someone in the church should approach that person eventually about it. If it is a woman, a woman should and if it is a man, a man. I’m sorry, but I’ve been to churches where women had everything hanging out. How is a man supposed to be godly and keep his mind on God if there’s a woman in front of him with her breasts bouncing all over the place and her buns hanging out? If a woman becomes a regular and keeps doing that, someone has got to say something. People doing ungodly things need corrected. This post could go either way. We don’t want to become like the church who does not correct the people with truth… if someone is stealing or committing adultery, they need corrected. If a woman has her butt and boobs hanging about all over the place, she needs corrected. If there is gossip, the gossipers need corrected. See what I mean? While we shouldn’t judge people or feel we are better than they are, we do need to correct sinfulness in the church. God bless you!

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    1. I agree 100 percent. Jesus loved and loves everyone, but, as you say, we can’t bend our standards of righteousness and appear that everyone is welcome without knowing where we stand on Scripture. That’s a delicate balance. Unfortunately, like you, I am aware of churches that swing the doors wide open but never act on obvious unrighteousness, like the examples you describe. Thank you for your insight, Lyn, and comments. Couldn’t agree with you more. God bless.

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    2. There is a delicate balance between throwing out the welcome mat to any and all comers and being legalistic and narrow minded. I agree with you. Many churches are either legalistic or they’re accepting of everyone regardless of their lifestyle. I have also been in both kinds of churches. I believe the Bride of Christ church is somewhere in between. You’re right about women who let everything hang out. They should be admonished in love to cover up–by another Godly woman. And we shouldn’t accept anyone and glaze over their lifestyle if that lifestyle does not match up with the Word of God. We need to reach out to reach the lost and dying, but we should not forfeit or disregard God’s word, either. Somewhere in between legalism and the church that sugar coats the gospel is the church of Jesus Christ. Amen. We need to correct sinfulness in the church in love. But, if folks are backsliding and won’t repent, then we need to turn them over to their sinful ways and let God deal with them. Thank you, and God bless you.

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  2. Wow! I always remember Joyce Meyer saying that she led her first Bible study wearing short shorts and blowing smoke in everyone’s faces, and it was anointed. God looks at our hearts, not our outward appearances and actions. When God has our hearts, He can change our actions.
    I pray for that young lady. May God do marvelous works in and through her. Thanks for sharing this humbling story.
    God bless:)

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