Outward or inward focus

I woke up this morning thinking about church. Not specifically a church but more the church. It seems like a lot of people are concerned about fitting in at church and that this is vital to feeling loved and appreciated. Or people are afraid to come to a church because they don’t think they will fit in and so not be welcome.

Somehow these two things seem to have become connected, like there is a general normality in a church that everyone is aspiring to be and if you are near this generality then you are well liked and if not you aren’t. I think there is a big problem with this aspect of church culture, it leads to this kinda vibe:

Everyone ends up looking inward. People feel a pressure to conform. Our expression of our faith is showing up on a Sunday morning and fitting in with the nice people and trying to make everyone know that we are doing well.

However, I think this is the opposite of what church should be, it should be a place full of diverse people, who understand their uniqueness, who express their faith in 1,000,000 differnt ways throughout their week and come together to celebrate Jesus, Papa and Holy Spirit, life and each other. A family that doesn’t care what you look like, where you are from, or what you wear but one that loves the God in you and wants to cheer you on to the be the most unique version of you.

Jesus asked 12 people to follow him as his disciples and they were a totally random bunch, a freedom fighter, a doctor, a tax collector, a bunch of fishermen, after hanging out together they went out and changed the world forever.

The conformity and group dynamics that create the top picutre are complex and I think we are all wired to want to fit in wherever we are. Our culture is based on performance not personality and most other group dynamics in our eduacation and work life are that kind of picture.

So it’s not even like this situation is something leaders seek to create. However, I think we have to fight these instincts to become a warm, open, welcoming, outward facing, community. We have to be a place that champions risk and adventure to allow diversity to be expressed. We have to ensure that we express love and value each other even when we don’t understand each other.

Maybe if we all took ownership of our first priority to the bring His kingdom to earth and live our destiny everyday, then we would care less about the Sunday meeting. There would be so many new people constantly joining that there would be no opportunity for a status quo to develop.

“Hi! Welcome! Who are you? What do you love? What has God put in your heart? How can I support you to take a leap of faith in that area?”

Here is to being bright, shiny and unique, loving people…