This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to spend 24 hours at St. Gregory’s Abbey in Three Rivers, Michigan. It was a wonderful time of quiet and solitude and listening to God. I find that there is something very attractive about the simplicity and calm of the lives of the monks who live at the Abbey. But I was also bothered a little by it. On the morning before I left I was sitting talking to God and asked Him how the monks could justify sealing themselves off from the world – cutting themselves off from contact with those who don’t know Jesus yet. How are they impacting the world for God?
I felt God’s response almost immediately and it hit me like a sledgehammer. I thought about the modern church and how we have “circled our wagons” surrounding ourselves with the already convinced, sealing ourselves off from the world and cutting ourselves off from contact with those who don’t know Jesus yet…boy that sounded familiar!
All due respect to the wonderful monks of St. Gregory and to the churches of America, but this mentality is causing us to miss the whole point of why Jesus came. Jesus said His mission was to “seek and save the lost ones.” I have news for all of us, the lost ones that Jesus came to seek are not showing up at our church buildings on Sunday mornings because 1. we have not made them feel welcome and 2. we haven’t been living lives that show them Jesus is still transforming lives.
If you are reading this, and you aren’t a Jesus follower yet then I’d, first, like to apologize to you that we, as the church in general, have screwed up. And, second, I’d like to tell you that we are trying to do better. At the Bridge, we’re not going to circle the wagons anymore. If you come and visit our gatherings or if we see you on the street or in the store, we’ll accept you just the way you are and we’ll love you not as people who have all the answers or have it all together but as people who were lost ourselves not that long ago and who would love to help you meet the Great Rescuer.