How you treat the ‘least’ and the little matters!

Churches are meant to be welcoming places, places where people of all walks of life can enter the building and be welcomed with a smile and a sincere appreciation that they have walked in. One of the key things that churches seem proud of is them being known as a ‘welcoming church’. Which is great, but that welcome goes beyond the first person they meet at the door.

It’s easy to welcome people superficially or to welcome those who are like you (or the particular demographic of your church), but what about those who aren’t like you?

A person with addictions walking into your church with a child might be greeted at the door with a kind face, but does that continue inside? Many Christians can gladly affirm that the church is a ‘hospital for sinners’ but in reality if they’re not wearing a suit, speaking the correct Christian lingo or acting ‘appropriately’ people can be viewed with suspicion.

If the person with addictions walks in how many people will actively go and talk to them, sit with them and genuinely listen to them? It does happen, but often if you don’t fit the normal mould of the people in the church then you might find it not to be that welcoming after all.

But it isn’t just with the ‘least’ of society, the same can be true for little ones. I have heard parents apologise for children making noise during a service to which I respond “as a church family I would expect to hear children being children during a service, were a family after all, your kids probably aren’t always quiet at home right?” I’ve also heard people complain about the noise that little children make which has meant that kids are taken out of the service into Sunday school quicker.

The issue with that is that it reduces Sunday school into an entertainment opportunity rather than a gospel and teaching opportunity. Our kids do not need to be entertained, they need to be pointed to Jesus.

Welcoming little ones into church means allowing them to be kids, it means engaging them well with the gospel and encouraging them to participate with the corporate worship. Silencing them or shooing them into a side room is a refusal to engage with a part of the church family and the Bible is pretty strong on the need to treat the church as a family and body.

Don’t avoid the ‘least’ or the little, don’t push them to the side or make them sit in isolation but bring them in, point them to Jesus and rejoice that they’ve come along.

How you welcome the ‘least’ and the little matters because it’s often a litmus test of how much like Jesus we are. Jesus wanted the children to come to him and he went towards the ‘least’ in society of his day. As Christians we should be doing the same and if we’re not, why not? Is it our own cultural prejudices, a sense of superiority or a desire to be comfortable?

The church is not called to be a comfortable place it’s called to be a place that reflects the beauty and diversity of the body of Christ. So how you welcome the least and the little matters, what are you going to change about your approach to people this coming Sunday morning?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: