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Does The Church Draw People, Or Drive Them Away? Part 2

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

What if a very attractive, distinguished, articulate woman, with a husband and two children, came to your church several times and finally decided to join? As part of the process you asked her to fill out a brief questionnaire about herself. When the questionnaire came back you discovered this about the prospective member:

  • She  is a recovering cocaine addict
  • She is a former prostitute
  • She is a victim of domestic abuse
  • She almost ended her life when she was five
  • She has had five abortions
  • She is a convicted felon
  • She  spent time in prison

What would your membership committee’s response be to a person like that? Now, I don’t know of many churches who make perspective members fill out applications. But what would your members’ response be? Would this person be welcomed into your congregation? Would she be invited to join in Bible studies? What if she wanted to share her testimony with the congregation? What would the blue-hairs say about that?

Here’s some of the reaction I would expect from a lot of church members and staffs today.

  • Are you kidding me? We’re going to allow her kind in our church?
  • Well, I can accept the addiction and the prison thing, but five abortions?
  • Some folks may take to her, but the Bible says don’t mix with that kind (It doesn’t of course. It says the opposite.)
  • I think it’s time for us to find another church, Ed.
  • What is the church coming to?
  • Daddy helped found this church. He would roll over in his grave if he knew we were allowing this.
  • Next thing you know we’ll be allowing Muslims and Buddhists in.
  • She’ll ruin this church!

Let me tell you something else about her experience with the church. When she got out of prison, she was a committed follower of Jesus Christ.  God called her to start a program for women re-entering society after being in prison. She dreamed of a home where these women desiring to change their lives could get training, love and acceptance. As a believer in Jesus she assumed the best place to begin asking for financial support would be the church. Right?

Wrong!

She went to six churches asking for financial support. After the sixth church turned her down, she decided to try non-Christians. She approached corporations and businesses, not asking about spiritual commitment or church affiliation. She raised close to 1.5 million dollars in a matter of months and the donations funded her dream home.

One church she approached had the audacity to tell her they wouldn’t fund her unless every woman graduating from the program would join their church and say the sinners prayer to be saved. Can you believe there are “churches” who would actually put those kind of legalistic requirements on sharing the love of Christ? To me, that is absolutely shameful.

Do you know what else I think it is? I think it is the church acting more like a harlot than the Bride of Christ. I also believe that folks who might be seeking answers to life’s questions would be repelled, not drawn, by church folks who expressed that same condescending, holier-than-thou attitude in public. What if one of the “church folks” with this thinking process asked you to visit their church. Would you be inclined to go?

By the way, the prospective member in this story now dedicates her life to helping others. She established a successful re-entry program for women getting out of prison. The program boasted a zero-percent recidivism rate. She uses the adversity in her life to bring out the best in the lives of others. To learn more about Lisa Kratz Thomas’ life and story visit her website at http:lisakratzthomas.com

So, what is your opinion? Is your church more like a harlot or the Bride of Christ. What would your church do if Lisa walked in off the street and wanted to join your church. Would she be welcome (assuming you knew nothing about her present life as a servant of God and only knew her past)?

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Thank you again and may God richly bless you.

4 thoughts on “Does The Church Draw People, Or Drive Them Away? Part 2

  1. Steve, My church wouldn’t treat her that way either. I can’t see her being given money for her vision by the church, but she would most definitely be free to worship there. We have several born-again felons in our membership who are active and productive members of our congregation. What is in a man’s past, is in his past and should have no bearing on who the new man in Christ is. 2nd Cor 5:17.

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    1. Amen, Scott. And may God richly bless your fellowship. You may be interested in my friend, Lisa Kratz Thomas’s website. She has a ministry to ex-felons, being one herself. Fascinating story. Addicted to cocaine, prostitute, victim of domestic violence and sexual abuse, she had five abortions, was sent to prison for a check-writing scheme with her abuser. Now she uses the adversity in her life to bring out the best in the lives of others. She is amazing. http://lisakratzthomas.com.
      Thanks for your comments.
      God bless you and your church.

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  2. My church wouldn’t have acted this way at all, and we are fairly conservative. We have people coming to our church who are former “all kinds of people”, and their past is not held against them by most of the members of my church. They still may need to go through a short time period of getting to know people and earning their trust, as does anyone regardless of their past, but they would be accepted if their faith in Christ is sincere.

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    1. Fantastic! I am so grateful for worshippers like you find in your church and I find in mine.
      Thank you so much for your encouraging comments.

      Like

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