An abandoned daughter discovers her Heavenly Father.
An angry ex-con encounters authentic friendships.
A controlling mother learns to let go and let God.
A one year clean woman mentors a struggling drug addict.
A relationship destroying alcoholic gains new tools and makes amends.
A recovering sex addict finds new purpose and is set free.
A guilt-ridden religious woman experiences grace.
Who are these people?
These are the people Brennan Manning celebrated when he wrote, “There is a beautiful transparency to honest disciples who never wear a false face and do not pretend to be anything but who they are.”
These are the people Jesus had in mind when He said, “I have come to heal the broken-hearted.”
These are the people Jesus said are the greatest because of their humility and commitment to one another.
These are the people Jesus would call the Church.
These are the people most churches reject, ignore and outsource to other agencies.
These are the people most churches marginalize, judge, undervalue and under serve.
These are the people most churches hope go somewhere else.
These are the people who are bringing huge blessings to my church.
These are the people who are showing us that God is still in the miracle business.
These are the people who are showing us how to be transparent and brave.
These are the people who are showing us the importance of accountability and genuine friendship.
These are the people who are showing us that we are all in recovery from something.
These are the people who are showing us that the ground is level at the foot of the cross.
These are the people who are showing us that everything is Grace.
These are the people that God is with, and if we are with them, then we are with God.
Why are so many fleeing the church?
Because the church has rejected “these people.”
These are the very people Jesus said he would judge us by how we treated them.
These are the very people Jesus said that when we serve and love them, we will be blessed.
These are the very people Jesus said that when we serve and love them, we serve and love him.
We too often want the world to change when in reality, the church must change.
Until the church becomes transparent, inclusive, safe, brave, courageous, messy, grace-filled, humble and willing to sacrifice, serve, strategize, prioritize and make a high commitment to serve and be led by “these people”, then it will continue to shrink and be benign.
We too often want the world to repent, when in reality, the church must repent.
If the church is not serving and welcoming and allowing “these people” to lead, then it is really not the church, but more a building, more an exclusive club.
At my church, “these people” call themselves Celebrate Recovery, and they are leading the way towards blessings, miracles, redemption and an intimacy with God that is rarely seen.
Thank you for your example in humility.
Thank you for your leadership in transparency.
Thank you for your commitment to grace.
Thank you for re-introducing us to the presence of God.
May there be a revolution of “these people.”
“It is impossible to meet God without abandon, without exposing yourself, being raw.” Bono