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In the last line of his poem House of Belonging, David Whyte writes, “There is no house like the house of belonging.” Are you offering people ways to have a sense of belonging in your church?

 

We want to be clear how we are using words. It would be more precise to state that people can interact with the church before they believe. But we recognize alliteration is more important than precision. Even though belonging cannot occur without repentance and faith, there often is connection and relationship before that happens.

 

The NT offers instances of non-Christians interacting with the church. This interaction is not merely with people from the church community in the neighborhood or marketplace, but in worship. Paul writes about what to do when “unbelievers enter” in this context in 1 Cor 14:23. Isn’t the way Jesus handled Judas an example of this too?

 

It is no small feat when someone makes their way into a church, so we should do everything possible to welcome them into the life of the church. The church is one of the rare places in our society that offers what James K.A. Smith calls “higher” time. The church offers hope, distinction, and a future. People want in on this. What may be considered simple or dull service, inside “higher” time, is attractive to people. When the church sets itself up as a storefront bakery that only allows peeks through the window, it has created obstacles to coming to Jesus.

 

We have identified nine areas of service at our church where people can serve prior to the threshold of belief. What we allow you may not agree with. You should wrestle with your leadership team, though, and decide how you will allow non-Christians to interact with your church.

 

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