How would your/our church react if two lesbians walked in the doors on Sunday? I’ll get to that in a second, and I hope you hang with me here, but FIRST!
Values are not just the WORDS that we speak, they are the WAY we live, born out of WHAT we believe because of WHO God is.
My life says WAY more about my values than a list of words. Sometimes I wonder if we as churches get that. Like, for many years here at Element, we had STATED values but they weren’t really reflected in the way we lived. They weren’t bad values…in fact they were really GOOD values. We thought long and hard about them. Someone told us when we started the church “You need to have core values.” So we thought of some. But they weren’t really what we valued. And God started challenging me on that.
In fact, God challenged me so much that we set out on a journey to STATE values that we were already trying to LIVE. To verbalize the culture of our church. That was in the Fall of 2012. Now here we are, a little over a year later and I LOVE hearing people communicate AND live out our values. They truly are a part of who we are. I met a first time guest on Sunday who literally pointed to our core value of “Home” on the wall and talked about “THIS is a place they can call home. They felt like they were HOME!” I love it.
Then I read this article and it BLEW me away. Lots of churches have a stated core value of, “Come as your are” or “Everyone welcome.” Ya know, some variation of being a home. A welcoming place. But when two lesbians walk into your church determined to SHOCK these church people, how would our church respond? The church in this article responded like I would want Element to respond.
You can read the article HERE and I encourage you to do so. It’s about a lesbian couple who decided one day to attend church. Here’s a quick excerpt….but seriously, read it:
Amy had been in a nine-year lesbian relationship that had broken up, leaving her wondering why her deepest longings could never be satisfied. She and Rachel had just started hanging out when they decided to attend one Sunday morning.
“I came on a mission to shock people,” Amy admits. “Rachel and I would hold hands in front of people, but instead of the disgusted looks of contempt we expected, people met eyes with us and treated us like real people. So we started coming to church weekly. We kept moving closer to the front each week, trying to get a reaction so that we’d be rejected sooner rather than later. When we couldn’t shock people, we stopped trying and started learning.”
Seven years later, through the Holy Spirit moving in the love, friendship, and teaching in this church, Amy surrendered her heart fully to Jesus and God CHANGED her life. She now leads a ministry in the church to help people find healing and wholeness from all kinds of sexual and relational struggles. She’s helping others become God’s restored Masterpiece.
I know some people won’t like this article. Others will find a reason to shoot holes in the story. I’m just saying, I want OUR church to be a place where two lesbians could walk in and feel at HOME. Not that they would come in and agree with our beliefs, but that they would come in and not be able to deny that we loved them like Jesus! WOW!
Our core value of “Home” says this: We will love people for WHO they are so we can lead them to WHERE they need to be. Sounds like Amy found that in a church.
I can’t speak for any other church but ours…and for ours, I PRAY we will be a place where ANYONE can find a home and begin to experience LIFE to its fullest in Christ.