Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's Time To Change the Sign

Got out and changed the church's sign yesterday. Riffed off the currently running movie "Eat Pray Love" with the sign saying just that - "Eat Pray Love" and adding "We do that here." :) Well hey, we're Baptists, so you knew we had the first one covered. The "Pray" part, we should cover too. One of the times we meet is called "prayer meeting", and we do pray there. And I can testify to the truth of the last word. We do LOVE at New Hope. We're not perfect at it. Not close. But of all the churches I have been a part of over the years, New Hope reaches out farther than most. But we've got to reach farther.

That sign above is what many people see when they look toward the "Church." It says that whatever direction you might think of heading in - is wrong. Just STOP, and we'll tell you where to go. For many people on the inside of the church, people who love, who give, who serve their fellow man, this will come as somewhat of a shock. They couldn't imagine how anyone could feel that way. And yet, in conversations over the years with people who walk away or drop out, the picture above is a good match with what they expect will happen at church.

Frankly, I'm sick of it. It's time to draw a line and replace that picture with one like this -

Not - "Welcome if you are just like us."
Not - "Welcome if you voted like we did."
Not - "Welcome if you share our views."
Not - "Welcome if you have your life together."
Not - "Welcome if you've stopped doing bad stuff."

Not welcome with preconditions - just welcome, great to meet you and to have a chance to get to know you. Would you like to walk with us along the journey?

Funny, I was just reading this morning about the very first church's sign. "They will know you are my disciples by your love..."  Now there's a sign. Let's see how far we can get toward that one.

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