This post is pretty long. I hope you’re ready.
It took me a while to realise that people aren’t super beings. That they fail everyday. It took me ages to realise that sometimes people do suck and that people mess up and that people will let you down and that you’ll let people down because you’re a mere man or woman. And it’s hard when you fail, because you have to get back up from it because you know it’s what you should do and you know that it is expected of you also. But getting up is damn hard when you know you’ve let yourself or God or your friends down. Or all 3. It is damn hard indeed. Does it make us a bad person if we don’t get up straight away from our failures, if we don’t bounce back and have the same attitude that we have had prior to what has happened?
No. It doesn’t.
Because you know what is a common, but brutal misconception about Church and Christianity? It’s thinking you aren’t good enough for either. and it absolutely breaks my heart when people say “I would worship like they do but I’m not good enough” or “I would go to Church on a Sunday, but in fact, I’m really not good enough for that”. It sucks so bad and it is incredibly frustrating too.
Let me tell you, it is genuinely ok that you are not perfect, it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to worship God. And it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on anything to do with Church. What people like to forget is that Church isn’t (or shouldn’t) be for people to glorify themselves, nor is it for people who are perfect, but Church is for broken people. Please, I implore you, Church is for people who need God to help them to get their life sorted out. It is not a place to make people feel like crap. It is not a place to work your way to the top or become a ‘leader’. It is people helping people in an honest way.
You are good enough, regardless that you’re a mere man or mere woman, let nobody tell you that, in or out of Church. There shouldn’t be some standard that you have to live up to to come to Church or be able to serve.
And what infuriates me further is that people who may have never been to Church or in a Christian setting have that common misconception. And you know why – it’s because of us! How crap is that! It’s our fault as Christians called to be Christ-Like that this is a misconception of society. And what doesn’t help is that we are the ones who nurture that weed that has been planted in their mind. We need to uproot that sucker and plant the right seed! Not the seed that you have to be of a certain standard to come to Church or serve on certain teams.
Let me tell you a true story, for the sake of the people involved, I have changed the names.
Just under 2 years ago, I attended a Church event (by this point I had been coming to Church for 2 years so there was a lot that was familiar to me) where the speaker on stage told a story about a young person from Youth, let’s call them Bill. The person on stage said that Bill had the opportunity to tell his school friends that he was a Christian. He didn’t. When confronted about it Bill said “I just didn’t see what was in it for me”. After telling this to the congregation, many people gasped with horror and I particularly remember one woman sat in front of me who had been part of this Church for a lot longer than I had, we’ll call her Ellie, shaking her head and being amongst the gaspers. Her gasping knocked me sick. Now I know it wasn’t just her, but it made me feel physically sick. After the service I overheard Ellie saying to someone “…clearly this young person has an exclusive view of Church…” and then proceeded to use some typical Church language that is used by everyone. This always stuck with me, though I only ever told 1 person. The story isn’t over though. Not 4 months ago, I had just finished chatting with my group at youth about something and it was time to go into the other room to set up for Sunday or whatever, quite honestly I don’t really remember. But as I was walking past the window I noticed a group of about 3 or 4 lads, maybe 16 or 17 in age outside on their skateboards just messing around, having a laugh, being a 16/17 year old lad. Not causing any harm, not doing any damage just having some good honest fun on a Church car park. They had never been here before, they probably didn’t even know it was a Church, they cared that it was flat land and that there was light and nobody around, so they decided to make the most of it. Who could blame them? So I thought to myself, “Great, I’ll go outside now and have a chat with them, see if they’re Ok, invite them inside for a hot chocolate or a can of coke, plan a game of ping pong, get their names” etc. That’s just the evangelist in me. But by the time I got outside they had gone. They had literally vanished in the space of 20 seconds. Ellie was waiting outside for her relative to come outside so they could go home as youth was over. I said to her “Did you see that small group of lads, I was going to chat to them” and she replied with “Oh. Them lot. I told them all to go away. I told them that if they didn’t want to participate with youth (which was over!!!!!) that they should find somewhere else to loiter and mess about”. I felt like gasping myself. Chance ruined.
You know what the worst thing is, Ellie is a major player (and so is her family) in this Church. She has been going for literally decades. She’s known throughout the Church and she plays quite a big role in the team that she serves in, and honestly, she’s a lovely woman.
Doesn’t that beg the question that we might also be planting the seed of condemnation in people’s minds? I know I have in previous years. I hope I don’t anymore. All I can do is hope and pray that I don’t really.
Oh and those 3 guys, they have never come back, I’m not saying they never will, but in 4 months they haven’t. Maybe they’ve found somewhere else to skate that’s a little less condemning.
I’m sorry this post has been so long, I tried to cut it down as much as possible. I just want you to all know that it’s totally fine if you’re not fine. Keep going, it’ll be ok. I don’t want this to seem like a rant, I just think it is definitely something to think about.
Thanks for reading.