One of the most horrifying memories I have of a church leader is when he told me and my husband, who was the Single Adult Pastor at the church, that we needed to be “targeting young professionals more” because those were the types he wanted coming to the church.
He would have been appalled I’m sure, had he come to a party at our home that included (in addition to some “young professionals” because we didn’t want to discriminate against them) a number of homeless people, an exotic dancer, and addicts of various substances, plus many of what might be termed ordinary singles.
We didn’t follow his advice for our party or our ministry. Our group was made up of a large variety of people and everyone was welcome, not just at that party, but all the events of our Single Adult Group.
I hadn’t thought about that situation in years, but was recently reminded of this verse:
He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just. Luke 14:12-14, ESV
As I thought about it, I wondered how many of our churches actively invite people outside our “target” group, people who can contribute little to the church, who don’t look like us or smell like us, who may be more trouble to the church than a positive contribution to our bottom line or image.
We might make certain groups objects of ministry—but how often do we honestly and actively invite everyone to join in?Continue Reading