Just over a year ago Missy and I started attending a new church while finishing up graduate school. While within just a few weeks we fell in love with this congregation, the first Sunday there was very strange for us. Any church we had ever been to was a place we had connections and relationships with. The first Sunday here we walked through the hallways jammed full of 1000+ people an no one said a word to us. We walked into the auditorium and weren’t welcomed by anyone. After the closing prayer we weren’t greeted and didn’t have a single conversation before leaving.
It was a very odd experience. But in many ways it was one of the most important church experiences I have ever had. It reminded me how many people first feel when they are at a new church. It put me in the shoes of many that I had thought I could relate with but realized that my everyday church experiences and theirs are totally different. How many invisible people do we have in our churches? How many come once or twice and never return?
When you look at the ministry of Jesus he spent lots of his time with the invisibles. The Gospel of Luke is a prime place to experience the side of Jesus that was a sucker for the underdog and was most fulfilled with people we would be least fulfilled with. There is such a BIG challenge for us to make church a place that is comfortable for everyone and not just assume that just because we are comfortable they are comfortable. Jesus did many miracles in his day but one of the greatest was the opposite of making people disappear. He took the invisible people of his day and made them highly visible and showed them how much God really loves them! Let’s go and do likewise!