From the start of Church of the Suncoast I have prayed, strived, and cast vision for a church that ANYONE could go to and feel "safe" as they investigate the Gospel. We don't need more churches in most parts of the country, what we need are safe environments for people to experience the grace Jesus has to offer them.
For the most part, we are not perfect, but for the most part we have that kind of church today. BUT, that also causes a lot of conflict from a leadership standpoint. What do you do about the girl whose boobs are hanging out each week? Do you let non-believers in the band? When someone is dealing with a moral issue do you pull them? What "lifestyles" are accepted as Christian? What do you do when it doesn't seem like a believers behavior is matching what they are telling others they believe? What about divorce? The list could go on but you get the idea.
The natural tendency of any organization is to meet and craft a bunch of policies so that the issue is settled and you don't have to have the conflict when it comes up. You just point to a policy and say, "Sorry, this is OUR policy." BUT, here is something I heard Andy Stanley talk about recently and it was so right on! Don't have policies, have conversations. This is how Jesus did things. From tax-collectors to adulterers He would have conversations not policies and categories. Maybe if we could learn from that we could not just strike a balance between grace and truth, but a powerful merger of the two that Jesus seemed to embody.
I say leave the girl with the boobs to do whatever she'd like to do.
But seriously folks, conversations sound like the way to go. By all means let a non-believer into the band if it helps others find their way. I could give my opinion on the others but I don't think you're looking for that. You get the idea, converse! I love awkward conversations, some of the best things come out of them!
Have conversations like Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman. No condemnation, pure love. Let them keep coming and listening and pray that eventually they drink the "living water".
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