Insiders and Outsiders of the Church

Over the past few weeks, I have been pondering what it means to be part of a faith community. When I am in a group setting I am often aware of what may not make sense to a newcomer. I find this to be true in worship, events, camp, meetings, etc. I believe that this has developed primarily from my service as a pastor at Resurrection. As an organization, we pay particular attention to welcoming first time guests.

The reality of insiders and outsiders in a community has troubled me in some circumstances. However, I recently realized that it is necessary to have insiders and outsiders for a community to have boundaries and any sort of cohesiveness. Without insiders and outsiders, the church would not have any distinction from the rest of the world and the people of the church would not be expected to live to any different standard.

God has not called the church to be a community without borders. There are clear boundaries of belief and practice that identify the church. The question is not, In regard to the church, are there insiders and outsiders? because the answer to that question is necessarily, Yes. The important question is, How are outsiders welcomed and invited to become insiders? How do we live as a community where every person – inside and out – is invited to take a step forward in the journey of becoming a deeply committed Christian?

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2 thoughts on “Insiders and Outsiders of the Church

  1. I love it. I love it. I love it.

    Keep thinking about this, Andrew. This will be important not only for your ministry, but for the renewal of the denomination that you love. There is a calling that has been placed on the church to be formed in to a particular type of people, with particular language, practices, knowledge, wisdom, and vision. The challenge, or course, is instilling that language in such a way that enables those who speak it to remain welcoming, loving, accepting, inviting, encouraging, and open to those who do not share their discourse, their vision, their hope, and their beliefs, and to present themselves in a way that is compelling, faithful, and true, pointing to the reality of God and the gospel of/about Jesus Christ.

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