Well, here we are again.
Another week has gone by, and I am so happy we are back at this spot again.
Hope your weekend contained a moment that would be a great story to tell today.
I hope you tell that story to me at some point! Stories are my jam.
So if you were drawn to this post due to the title, don’t be discouraged that I won’t invite you to church.
It’s not you, it’s me.
Allow me to explain:
Growing up, I was raised in an environment that was very sensitive towards the church due to their own upbringing of pounding the church into their brains.
So because of that forced-upon Jesus, the church, any church, gives them a bad taste in their hearts.
When I found Christ at 16, I was in the midst of not knowing who I was, especially with this concept of Christ in my life. I did know, though, that bringing up church at home in a “why-don’t-you-come-with-me” sort of way was out of the question.
So because I never felt comfortable inviting my own family to church, I never reached out and invited my friends either. Granted, a lot of my friends during this time were attending a church of their own, but I never seemed to invite the ones that didn’t go.
A big reason for that was that a lot of the friends who didn’t attend church attended all of the drunken parties that I also attended. So my completely double life in high school got in the way of genuinely asking people to hear the Gospel when I was living out the same insecure life they were living.
Now, I’m sure I tried to invite at least one person, but I can guarantee that my heart behind the question was more about me than them. It was more about them seeing that I’ve changed spiritually into this awesome and strong being, so they should come to church and see more of that on me. And maybe, seeing that in me would change them too.
I could change them is what I selfishly thought.
So it’s easy for me to forget empty conversation because it did nothing for the glory of God.
Just as it is said in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 :
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to the hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
So for me, asking people to come to church with me was never done out of love, so it was nothing.
So I never did it.
Even through college, I just felt uncomfortable bringing anyone to church. Socially, I felt anxiety rise when thinking about bringing someone out of their comfort zone into a church. The anxiety was rooted in the thought that I had to take care of everything and make sure everything was perfect at the service that day in order to positively impact my guest.
I’m very much like a mother wanting to make everything just perfect for their child.
Also, on campus there were always the super great sign-holders telling everyone they’re going to Hell and that all single women were fire-burning lesbians (that one was told to me once. I had blue hair so I can understand the confusion with human and demon (also please understand sarcasm if you did not catch it then)) So why would anyone who didn’t know Christ want to come to church with me if that was all they saw as representations of God? I wouldn’t want to touch the doors of church either if that’s all I knew to be God.
So I continued to not extend an invite because I wasn’t sure if that service was the service they should go to and that the worship was going to tug the right heartstrings or not.
It turned out that a lot more people were burned by what the people within churches have shown them than just my household, so I was overly cautious to the point of leaving them outside the doors of a chance to find freedom.
I felt that I had too much weight on my hands to try to invite and change the broken.
The problem is, God didn’t ask me to make everything perfect, and he certainly didn’t ask me to change anyone, but I just didn’t think He could do it Himself, perhaps.
So moving onto today, I just subconsciously decided to not even try to invite people.
I tend to have an empty feeling inside of me when I try to make things happen myself instead of taking them to God, so anytime I even think about inviting people, even my own family, I just have an empty feeling, so I hold back.
In the meantime, God has done so much in my life and through my life that has made me look at my past in disbelief. I feel that every month I say, “I’ve never been this close to God before,” and it’s so cool and humbling to just let Him do His thing.
And my joy of life because of Him hath floweth over-eth in my daily routines and private ones.
I just live in hopes that God is doing everything He needs to do for me and through me.
With all of this said, yesterday was a cool day at my church.
Filling a full row (four chairs on the side section) were four friends of mine that decided to try out the church.
They didn’t try it out because I invited them. Even with one of them being my best friend in the whole world, I did not invite her.
They came because they saw the change in me. They came because of the excitement I’ve expressed when I’ve casually talked about my community there. They came because the joy they saw in me.
They came because they were seeing Jesus.
I say this not in a boastful manner towards myself. Trust me when I say it was all God. I didn’t even know that three of them were showing up until they walked through the double doors, catching me off guard completely.
I didn’t have time to make the place perfect for them because God already did.
I didn’t have time to make sure they were comfortable and listening to the right message and the right worship because God already did.
I didn’t have time to show them what I thought they needed to be shown because God already did.
As I watched them from the back of the room, I sobbed. Of course, the sobbing was awkward when people were still coming into the church, so they were probably terrified of what was to come in the sanctuary, but whatever.
I sobbed because I was overwhelmed and put in my place in front of God. He proved that He holds the perfect power and the perfect plan and I can never add up to that.
Throughout Jesus’s life, He never invited anyone to church. People were drawn to Him through His words and actions. He never said, “Yo dawg, come to church with me and hear me talk about how awesome my Dad is.”
No, He just talked about how awesome God was right there. He healed right there. He moved mountains right there.
He didn’t invite people into the church, He brought the church out to the people.
And that’s what I plan to do.
So no, I will never invite you to church.
I will never say, “I think you should come to church with me,” because I don’t know for certain if you need to.
What I do know is that God knows, so He will get you wherever you need to be, and if it’s through me, cool. If it’s not, cool.
I want people to be drawn into church because of the love they see through me, not the invitation I share because how dare I say, “You should come,” when I myself need to be there too. I’m not saying that you should come to church to be like me because I am still messed up and making mistakes every freaking day. I’m not better than you. I just want to love you instead.
And love invites without saying that it is an invitation inside and outside of a church building, so I will continue trying to be that love in hopes that you do feel something different than the norm.
Followers of God should be love. It’s all through our sacred text and it should be through our hearts.
So of course my love invites you to wherever God wants you.
I don’t uninvite you to church. I just am not going to be the one pulling you in there without God showing you that He chose you to be somewhere.
It’s better to realize that you were chosen by God to be somewhere than it is to be chosen by me, trust me.
Love you guys,