19 May Everyone’s Invited!
I still remember the party that all my friends were invited to but I wasn’t. “All of my friends” might be an exaggeration, but it definitely felt like that. I was right in the middle of junior high–that awkward stage where fitting in means everything. As a 7th grader, I felt like my world was crumbling apart. Over 20 years later, I could care less; but in that moment, I felt left out and unwanted.
Most people can identify with feeling left out or not included at some point in their lives, but it was never God’s intention for us to have that experience. He created us to be a part of His family, which means he desires for each of us to have a personal connection with him and live in community with others.
Jesus modeled this when he lived among us, and as his followers we are to live this way too–in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our communities, in our nation, and in the world.
Sadly, many people don’t feel or experience this from the church. Some even fear going to church because it’s another place where they feel like they don’t belong. This not only keeps people away from church. It keeps them away from God.
At United, we reimagine a church that will return to this idea that Christ wants all people to be a part of his family. If we follow Jesus, we should want every person to know this–that they are made in the image of God and matter to him. Basically, we want everyone to know that they are invited to be a part of God’s family.
That is why our first value, or idea that will define and shape the culture of United, is this idea of being all inclusive.
Specifically, we want to pursue being an all inclusive culture by modeling Jesus as he:
- Included all people
- Welcomed all people as they were
- Offered everyone a place to belong
- Desired to love people and connect them to God, not fix them
We all come to God from different backgrounds, different life experiences, and have different perspectives. But, because of Jesus, we are all invited to connect with God and have a relationship with him. And, we get to do this together as a church.
If this sounds too good to be true, then check out how Jesus included both a super religious guy, and a notoriously licentious woman, inviting both to connect with God (Luke 7:36-50). Then, come visit one of our Reimagine Church Nights or get plugged into a small group to experience this all inclusive culture for yourself.