The Church is the tangible expression of God’s presence in this world. In the US culture there is a real struggle going on over how the church receives and works with the people who are broken and hurt in many ways.
A focused time of spiritual discernment and honest conversation is needed by the body of Christ about who is actually welcome at church. There are too many people approaching the church today who leave bewildered, wondering if, in fact, they are really welcome.
Here are some factors that are important to bring into a time of spiritual discernment and conversation about who is here:
Safety is not the substitute for fear:
The number one value expressed by parents today in relationship to their children and family is the value of safety.
One of the top fears church leadership experiences is not being perceived as a safe place for others.
The response to this tension is that too often policies and practices put into place are done in the name of safety, but in reality, they are a response of simply being filled with fear. The unintended consequence is that people who are broken in many ways come to understand that they are not welcome here.
The challenge for the church in responding to this value is to not respond in fear with restrictive positions and policies, but to rather create an atmosphere that people from all different contexts in life can participate in.