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If you ever ask someone the question “Why don’t you attend church?” You’ll get many different answers, but 2 of the biggest ones I get are, “I don’t want to go to church with a bunch of hypocrites.” The other big one is “I went to church before & I didn’t feel welcome.” I often analyze these types of things & as we travel to many different churches of all types of denominations, I’ve started thinking maybe we’ve become our own worst enemy in the church world as we know it.

I want to start by saying that we have met some amazing, Godly, & loving people across the country, as we’ve been traveling in our music ministry over the last several years. I’m thankful for all these people, they are awesome & when we go to churches that have these kind of people we are so thankful. However there are places that we go where I can truly see how people wouldn’t want to go, I mean WOW, I could literally write a book about this stuff & have actually had a lot of people that we’ve shared our stories with from churches we’ve been to & many people say “I can’t believe that, you should write a book!”

It’s funny that many people’s excuses about not going to church really don’t have anything to do with them being against God or Christianity it’s about the way that people in the churches make them feel. My wife & I have experienced this first hand many times & I know exactly how these people feel. Do you know how hard it is to visit a church for the 1st time? I mean think about it, you usually don’t know anyone, you feel awkward, outplace & then sister Sally comes up to you & says “Excuse me you’re sitting in my pew!” By the way I’ve literally had that happen to me! Are we giving people a reason to want to come to our church or a reason to not want to go to any church? Think about it.

I recently heard the story of a man who visited a small country church, after the church service he walked up to one of the deacons & not really knowing what to say because he felt out of place he said, “You all sure do have a nice little church here.” The deacon looked back at him & said, “Yep and that’s just the way we’d like to keep it, really small.” He wanted the man to know they weren’t looking for any new converts they wanted  to keep it “the way it’s always been.” I’ve often heard people say the last words of a dying church are “We’ve always done it this way.” I often feel like the man that visited that little church as we go into some churches to sing you can feel the massive amount of unwelcomeness flowing from some people. Not too long ago we sang at a church & there was one lady who was all smiles when she came in laughing talking to her friends, as soon as she found out I was singing the smile quickly turned into a look of anger. I could literally feel the resistance coming from her like a tractor beam, so I thought to myself I’ll just look her in the eye & smile & let her see God’s love shine through me, usually that works, but not this day, the more I smiled at her the madder she got, then when the service was over she waited until I was close enough to hear her & made some comments hoping to hurt me I think & definitely making sure that we knew she didn’t want us back. Oh well you can’t win them all over, but it was a harsh reality to me that we as Christians are often our own worst enemy to the world we say we’re trying to reach.

I’m asking you Christian what does the world see when they look at you & your church? Are we loving like Christ loved? Are we outward focused or inward focused? If someone walked into your church for the first time would they feel welcome or does your church have the content with the few we have mentality? We’ve got to change our hearts if we ever want to change the hearts of those lost in this world. So make sure you’re being a reason for someone to want to be a Christian, don’t become an enemy to the cause & another excuse for someone to not come to the Lord. Be real for Jesus today!

Please feel free to leave comments & feedback, I love to hear from you all

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Comments

September 29, 2011 @02:05 pm Jimmy, I have been treated this way several times. but I let God deal with it! Actually when I first started at my home church in Alabama, I sat down in a pew and a nice christian lady told me I was in her seat. I told her God told me to sit there and for her to sit somewhere else that day! She was really upset, but I didn't budge! This was God's house after all. He didn't mind me sitting there. Later the pastor, who is one of my best friends now talked to me about it, and I told him if I come back, I'll sit where I want, its Gods house. the next week I did just that, I sat in the pew where one of the founders of the church, from January 1960, had always sat. from then until that day in September 2002. He never said anything to me, But at the evening service, he sat even somewhere different, and stood up during welcome time and told the churchhe had been up rooted by me and from then on would sit anywhere he wanted, He started meeting people he had never spoken to before. Some hgad been going there a few years, but he was a founder and didn't think he owed them a simple hello. After I became a member, He thanked me for rooting him out of "HIS" pew, and we became the wondering members. Nobody knew where we might be sitting. We even sat together several times. Some of th older people didn't care for our antics but GOD moved us every service. I just go in to new churches as I have always been there. God always has control of HIS house. Loving my Savior, Michael Michael Tripp
September 29, 2011 @09:59 am Jimmy - I've written you before but it has been quite some time. Just wanted you to know that I thought your story Our Own Worst Enemy was quite timely and appropriate Thanks for sharing and letting others of know that we are not in the boat alone. Wish you would come to Dallas sometime and do a concert. I believe I asked once before if you ever toured Texas. Until you do, I'll just have to settle for listening to your cd's. Thanks again for your email. dwayne

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