I love our church family and there’s no place I’d rather be on a Sunday morning. But I deliberately took time to visit other congregations during my vacation. Learning from other churches and getting to know the rest of the body of Christ is important to me as a pastor. Over the last several weeks I got a wide spectrum of worship experiences. None of the denominations was baptist. From Anglican to Christian Reformed to Brethren, the churches all had different traditions but were thoroughly evangelical, teaching Biblical messages focused on Scripture. From a church that met in a park, and another in a modern facility, to another that gathers in a building that dates to the 1800’s, it was clear that there is a great variety in church building aesthetics. I’m still trying to shake the image of the pastor preaching from his lawn chair.
People think their church is friendly because they have developed friendships with others in the church who are, of course, friendly to them. Jesus taught us that that kind of friendliness doesn’t really say much about our faith, “If you love those who love you, what benefit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.” (Luke 6:32). Being a friendly church isn’t just about being friendly to your friends; it really comes down to how friendly you are to the people at church that you don’t know.
You may think there's a typo in my title. Often pastors talk about the importance of not just being Sunday Christians. "We've got to live out the Good News throughout the week." That's really important to me too. But I think it's important to think about how to be Christian, how to act Christian when we come to church on Sunday too. There are many things we could talk about, and so this is a theme I will revisit in the future, but for now let's talk about loving our neighbour in the pew.