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The Miseducation of Church Folks

July 11th, 2017 by Elroy Byam

“Tell your friend her dress is too short.”
The old lady leaned back into her seat with a slight smirk on her face, feeling satisfied that she delivered her mail to the right address. Or at least the right mailer. The mailer was my sister, and she knew she would never deliver that message to her friend. It was only her second time at that church, and the message would in no way constitute a hat trick.
The message was delivered to me instead. Immediately I grew hot, probably as hot as the old lady was when she saw my sister’s friend’s dress. Probably because all she saw was my sister’s friend’s dress.
And not my sister’s friend.
Many of us who grew up in the church have great vision but do not know how to see people. We take our parent’s old adage seriously – don’t talk to strangers. If someone sits in our seat, has a different sense of humor, or poses a skin color on the opposite side of the spectrum, we tend to place them in the “other” category.
They’re not like us. They don’t adhere to our rules. Do they know how things works around here? 
And we wonder why people aren’t interested in church anymore. We find every reason to judge and blame others for their shortcomings. If all we did growing up in church was learn about Jesus, how did our Christianity grow so callous?
“These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” (Matt 15:8)
Ouch, Jesus. Are you talking to me?
As our church matures, so does our apologetics. Verses fly off our tongues like loose saliva to defend our faith and stance. Our IQ is through the roof, but our EQ is MIA. We have to connect with people emotionally so they can connect with Jesus eternally. Our church audience should look different every week, because we’re continually inviting people into the “hospital for sinners,” and not just on Community Guest Day.
Our Christianity has to reach a point where there’s no such thing as “sitting in someone’s seat.” Where divine service becomes less about worship within the walls and more about helping those outside of them.
And where a short dress is the last thing you see on a visitor.

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2 Responses to “The Miseducation of Church Folks”

  1. On July 11, 2017 at 7:28 pm Angela responded with... #

    I have prayed about going back to church for a long time. There is a SDA church in the next suburb and I have even drove past to take a look. My apprehension is not uncommon. Probably best if I continue to love my Lord and worship Him at hom.

    • On July 11, 2017 at 8:24 pm Elroy Byam responded with... #

      We understand your apprehension, Angela. However, avoiding the church building isn’t going to make anything better. Someone in that church may be looking for someone like you to connect with. In other words, your presence could be the answer to someone’s prayer. Church people can be off-putting, but don’t write them off. It’s a further indication of their (and our need) for Jesus daily.

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