There’s a church in our area that is known for having their parking team “size visitors up” as soon as they exit from their car and radio in to their ushers the specific make-up of the people visiting.
New family with small kids? By the time that new family hits the front door greeters from the children’s ministry with small children in hand are there to welcome them and personally escort them to their classes.
In some respects I guess I applaud their commitment to make people feel welcome by having a similar type of person meet them at the door.
Unfortunately too many people have told me that when they visited this church there weren’t any…
…black people to welcome them…
…or single moms…
…or those who had been divorced…
I often wonder what would happen if two openly gay people visited their church.
In Second Guessing God I talked about how a few years ago our church in Philadelphia went through our first crisis: French-kissing homosexuals in the worship service.
One day after services a man in our church’s band approached me and said, “Dude, I just saw my first homosexual kiss!” I said, “Where?” He pointed to the auditorium and said they had been French kissing during the worship service.
I said, “Really? I didn’t see them.” I looked for other staff members, but they said they hadn’t witnessed it either. The next Sunday three people came up to me and said they had seen the same thing. This went on for weeks. It was like the homosexual version of “Where’s Waldo?” During the sermon I would slowly scan the audience looking for lip-locking visitors, but to no avail.
Eventually, for reasons I could never discover, our frisky friends left, but not before I received a nasty e-mail from a woman visiting from another church [the same church known for “sizing people up” and radioing in their “type” to their ushers] that saw the couple making out. She asked, “Is your church the kind of church that welcomes homosexuals?” That was a loaded question.
I e-mailed back and outlined our church’s belief that homosexuality, like all other sins, goes against what is clearly taught in the Bible. I also explained that we would welcome anyone, regardless of their background, to be a part of our church service, jokingly adding that we had a very strict policy against all French kissing during the service—homosexual or heterosexual.
I concluded my e-mail by saying, “I have to be honest; I was glad to hear that two homosexuals felt comfortable enough to attend our church services and weren’t scared away by the adulterers, pornographers, tax cheats, liars and other messed-up people in the seats around them.”
Since day one it’s been my prayer that CCV would be the kind of church that anyone could attend.
Gay. Straight. Young. Old. Poor. Rich. Married. Divorced. Black. White.
Everyone for whom Christ died – and I mean everyone – is welcome to come and hear the good news that God loves us…
…in spite of their sin;
…in spite of their sexual orientation;
…in spite of their addictions;
…in spite of their skin color;
…in spite of the size of their wallet;
…and in spite of anything that people judge other people by on the surface to keep them from hearing the life-changing message of Jesus.
Are gays unabashedly welcome in your church? Should they be?
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