When we were teenagers, my brother was in and out of church.
But, one Friday evening when he was about 16, he came to our youth night with a few of his friends. I was SO excited he was there!
He was playing volleyball and having a good time. Then abruptly I saw his attitude change. He and his friends were leaving. I ran to ask why…
He told me that he and his friends were asked by a youth leader to leave the volleyball court while they took photos for an upcoming brochure or something. He & his friends didn’t look like the kinds of kids they wanted on the brochure.
He looked at me and said, “I’m done. I don’t need this little social club. I’ll never come back.” My apologies couldn’t help. He never returned to church.
Concern over some sleeveless shirts and maybe a tattoo or two pushed at least two people away from church that night and soured several others. More importantly they were pushed away from a loving God that wasn’t concerned at ALL about the tshirts and tattoos.
My heart broke for him. Over the years, I’ve seen countless people driven away by a church that said, “We love you…we just don’t like you the way you are.”
“Love people,” was Jesus’ command. Yet sometimes it feels like agendas are more important than people in the church.
Love people as Jesus did. Just as they are…