Been away from church for a while? This is your special invitation to come back. Soon, I hope! There will be no judgment or criticism from me, and probably not from anyone else. After all, I’ve been telling them for four months that this is a no-judgment zone, and I think they’re really getting it.
In twenty-two years as a pastor, I’ve heard a lot of reasons for leaving their church. Your reasons deserve respect. Maybe one or two of these will be familiar to you:
1. You were disgusted by conflict and hypocrisy among church people.
2. The pastor you loved left.
3. You grew up and realized you didn’t really know what or why you believed in the first place.
4. The United Methodist Church has failed to stand up for all people as it should.
5. You resent paying money to the centralized church.
6. You are embarrassed about something in your life.
7. You have a long-standing conflict with someone at church.
8. You don’t have any money to give, or nice clothes to wear.
9. The church has burned you in the past.
10. Sunday is our only family time.
11. You’re not willing to identify with a single religious organization.
Fair enough. The hurts are real. I would be very glad to sit down with you and listen to your story. Call or text me at 231 720-5422, and we’ll make a time. And for what it’s worth, T-shirts and shorts are fine, nobody’s looking to see whether you put any money in the plate, and church time is family time.
Here’s why I want you to come back:
1. There are good things going on here, a sense of optimism, and you should be part of bringing the good future that’s ahead.
2. You need to get back to actively pursuing your faith walk in connection with other people.
3. You need the community and connection that church can give.
Whether you slid away from church while you were in college, or you got too busy in your thirties, or you had philosophical differences in your fifties, or you simply got accustomed to a Sunday with the paper and coffee, I believe that now is the time for walking in the door on a Sunday morning, and making some new relationships with a few of God’s people here at Community.