One of our core values here at StoneBridge is 'Being Real - Creating a safe environment where you can come as you are.' Yesterday I was reading in Isaiah 56 where it says, 6 "And as for the outsiders who now follow me, working for me, loving my name, and wanting to be my servants - All who keep Sabbath and don't defile it, holding fast to my covenant - 7 I'll bring them to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. They'll be welcome to worship the same as the 'insiders,' to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices to my altar. Oh yes, my house of worship will be known as a house of prayer for all people."
In other words, God wants His house to be a place that is open for all people, all walks of life, all backgrounds to come and worship Him. As soon as we start having the 'insiders' vs the 'outsiders' in our church we are going against the grain of what God desires. For us on staff we try to constantly make sure we make decisions not just because we like it or are comfortable with it, but rather we try and think about those who still feel like 'outsiders'. What about you and me? I have to constantly check myself to make sure I don't intentionally or unintentionally exclude people. God's heart beats passionately for the excluded, the outcast, the disenfranchized, and the forgotten. So let's continue to be a church where people can 'come as they are' and let's be a people that hold out the the hope of the gospel to all people.