This time I am going to be judgmental and critical. Ok, I know it is a sin but it is just my own thoughts about things. I know I should not judge others and criticize the church but I am an outcast with too many non conforming and thinking out side the box thoughts any way so why not?
Today at church we were passed out a brochure announcing the spring season class schedules for those Christians that might want to partake of the classes. Not a bad idea and many of the classes are good. The classes cover everything from financial issues to learning Greek as it applies to the scriptures. There is classes for learning how to pray for those in the healing ministries, prayer groups, and parenting classes. Also listed are leadership classes for ones that desire to be leaders in the volunteer groups. One class is an introduction the the church doctrine for new members. They also have a class for Christians that want to be share holders ( tithing the 10 % rule). I am not knocking these classes. Let me make that perfectly clear folks. All these classes have a justifiable merit for the new and seasoned members of this church. It gives them knowledge and ways to better serve the church. Not necessarily serving the ones seeking God.
In one class I once signed up for (Alpha), it started out with a sizable crowd seeking God. After the third week of a nine week class, the attendance was down 50% approximately and never went back up. This led me to believe perhaps the message being sought was not available or it did not contain the answers those that dropped out were seeking . Had they remained, perhaps they too could have found the answers they were seeking when the better speakers appeared.
What disturbs me most is I don't see classes on how to reach out to ones in the community that are not Christians or in an emotional state of their lives looking for God or salvation. It over looks the ones that are a bit different or doesn't dress that well and as dear friend David Johndrow of "Fire and Grace" says "the congregation ignores them at church". These are the one that need our help but do they get it? We cant' set up healing ministries in a building and sit at the door waiting for some one to come in and ask for help. Many are too proud even though deserving to do that.
The church professes being out ward focused and that is great to reach out in the community to help many. Most churches usually pick an area to focus on such as a housing project or distressed area in the community and I think that is commendable. Thinking about these areas though, one realizes most are on financial aid from the government, welfare, SSI,allowed HUD, free medical aid, food stamps, and wick along with utility assistance from a few agencies. This is good. I am glad some one is helping those people out. We should have an outward focused ministry but are the ones really seeking help falling through the cracks? We can give till we are blue in the face at the center but does it turn them to the Lord? Are we training the volunteers to have the capacity to win their souls to Christ by keeping in contact and following through should the ones in need want someone to talk to? That is the million dollar question.
I recently had an experience at an IHOP eatery. The cashier was new and nervous. She was hurrying around trying to serve all the guest in her section. Even the 3 rude and demanding ones with out a justifiable cause. They made her life hell that night complaining and running her back and fourth even though she showed the most courteous manner serving them.. My wife overheard her talking to one of the other servers crying and saying how much she need the job to support her new born child on what she made there. Our heart went out to her.
We saw when the rude customers left that they didn't leave a tip after putting her through hell. It was then that the wife and I would take care of their missing tip. Even through her ordeal she was always pleasant to us making sure we were taken care of.
We left a sizable tip ( more than what our meal cost) and my card saying God loves you and my web site address if she wanted more information. As we left she came up to us and said "Thank you. The message meant more to her than we would ever know." I received another follower for God desiring to hear the word of God from that experience.
This is an example that you don't hear much about in classes and it should be part of being a Christian reaching out to others. You will never know when the Lord will use you to bring others into His grace. Are you prepared to witness for God with the classes you take? Will you take the time to spread Gods word with the next stranger you meet that looks desolate and hurting? Are you willing to serve others seeking God's grace?