5 December 2022 |
I recently attended one of our churches where the majority of the congregation was of a different ethnicity than myself. The coldness was shocking. Not even a handshake was extended to me. I felt like some made a conscious effort to avoid me. Are we not all brothers and sisters in Christ?
What can I do if I visit that church again?
Signed, Frozen Out
Aunty has long been surprised at how little some church people notice visitors. It’s possible people at this congregation tuned you out because you are different from them. But not necessarily: Aunty has visited churches where everyone is the same appearance, language and culture she is, and been ignored by everyone—even by the so-called greeter! Some churches just aren’t welcoming no matter who you are!
She’s also been to churches where everyone is different from her, and been welcomed warmly.
Many people don’t notice that their church is unfriendly, because their friends in church are friendly to them! But most congregations act less like a retail store that wants everyone’s business, and more like a private club that only welcomes the people who already belong.
There is nothing so puzzling to Aunty as why some churches will spend tens of thousands on evangelistic meetings, but show no genuine warmth to people who attend church—even to their own new converts! Aunty believes churches could get (and keep) more new members just by being consistently inclusive and kind than by any number of prophecy lessons.
It is generous of you to consider giving them another chance. Please do. And when you do, smile and make yourself available to them, and maybe that will break down some barriers.
But if they can’t do any better, then (to quote Jesus) shake the dust from your feet and move on.
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