Lessons from the Check Lane: The church culture of discouragement

In my job as a grocery cashier I’ve gotten to know many of my customers very well. It’s amazing how much can be exchanged in the few minutes it takes to process a week’s worth of groceries.

Most of my regular customers see me as the guy who is always friendly and positive. Last night I was described as the “Happy Man.” That’s all well and good.

Most also know of the source of my “positiveness,” my faith in Jesus. That’s even better!

So, what’s this got to do with the church culture of closure and discouragement?

A couple of nights ago a customer shared with me that she and her husband had stopped attending church a few years back. When I asked why, her response was:

“Well, our preacher was very good. His message stayed with the Bible. We really liked that.

But he started making people feel very uncomfortable because of how they dressed.

Now I always try to dress nicely for church. I’m not into jeans and shorts for worship. But… well… he just drove people away who needed to be there… even me.”

I don’t know this pastor. I can’t imagine that he was actually trying to exclude or drive people from his congregation. But he was very effective at doing so. this once vibrant small church is now struggling to survive.

I suspect that the underlying feelings of members of this congregation (actual or prospective) sensed something much deeper… requirement for “membership” becoming something other than God intended. All too common.

Jesus chided the Sanhedrin, particularly the Pharisees, because they emphasized the letter of the Law above its purpose. Jesus also accepted people as they were (are) in order to bring them His message of hope and love.

It’s amazing how seemingly little things can drive people away from the message of Jesus Christ. You can see this in the simple example above.

On a broader scale, as a community, many of us Christians do the same thing. Whether it be bickering among ourselves about denominational differences or in effect “crossing to the other side of the street” to avoid those in need, we are doing the same thing.

Let us instead be a culture of welcome and invitation… carrying out the Great Commission.

I have invited the friend to come with me back into the universal church. I pray that she will.

Shalom,
Art
Alive in The Word

About aliveintheword

Missouri, USA Married to Marty, 45 years 2 sons (with 2 daughers-in-law) and 2 granddaughters Life dedicated to serving Jesus Christ and delivering the Good News
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1 Response to Lessons from the Check Lane: The church culture of discouragement

  1. ptl2010 says:

    Hello Brother, the Lord knew from the beginning how you will be a blessing as a check out counter cashier and how many lives you will touch and impact. Praise the Lord for all the experiences you have been through good and bad.. you are what you are by the grace of the Lord and you are where you are by His love to you and to all the people you will influence with His courage and inspiration. How wonderful, that you have made yourself available to be used as He sees fit, in His time and in His way. May you and your family be blessed as you are a blessing.

    I am sure this series you are starting will raise some eyebrows of fellow brothers and sisters. You will be doing right if you provoke us to godliness. The Lord wants us to provoke each other in love and may we respond in love as He speaks in love through you.

    Being humans, we know that we fail to meet the expectations of God and people sometimes. Someone said you can please some people some of the time, but you cannot please all the people all of the time. May we as God’s channels do our best, as He leads us to be His people showing love and mercy to people who need the Lord and pray that it will be mutual when our expectations too are not met. May we also at times be courageous to stand up for Him and His values against the tide of human expectations should it be necessary, as He imparts wisdom and discernment to us for correction and discipline in His household of faith.

    Thank you for your effort and sharing, it takes time, and availability. We thank God for your availability to be where He wants you to be.

    ptl2010

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