Whether it’s accepting those with who seem different or just making a new member feel welcome, inclusion matters within the church and community.
Often times, the unchurched never step foot into a church because they feel they won’t be included or welcomed just the way they are. Others see these people as just uninterested in coming to church.
When churches focus on inclusion, they might get some backlash, but overall, they experience growth and a stronger community than ever before.
Church Is About Community
Church should be about community and bringing everyone together. However, many churches let judgemental tendencies keep them from building true community.
Pushing people away likely pushes their friends and family away too. Inclusion matters when it comes to building community. Churches must be intentional about building community with people that look different from one another.
Some have said that the Church should be like a good stew. The parts are still distinguishable from one another, but they should absorb the flavor of the ingredients around them.
Keep Members Coming Back
No one wants to be a member of a church that makes them feel unwelcome. Odds are, you’ve probably visited churches where if you didn’t fit into a certain niche, you were looked at like a pariah as you walked through the doors.
If you want to keep members coming back, inclusion matters. Make every new visitor feel as if they’ve been attending your church their entire life. Talk to them, ask if they have any feedback on today’s sermon and introduce them to other members. Don’t stop at new visitors, either. Always make time to talk with everyone. For large churches, you might want to consider putting a team together to drive conversation and inclusion.
Even The Disabled Can Help
Sadly, the disabled often feel excluded. For instance, parents with autistic children might feel uncomfortable coming to church for fear that their child might have an unavoidable tantrum. This is where inclusion matters. Consider having a special worship group for disabled members who want to worship, but fear interrupting other members during services.
Though this post comes from a teacher, her words apply to churches too. Creating a safe environment without bullying or even negative looks from other members is vital to making the disabled feel included. You’d be surprised at how many people in the community worship at home and miss out on the power of a church family simply because of mental illness or physical disabilities.
The Grace Of God Is For Everyone
The most important reason inclusion matters is everyone is eligible the grace of God. It’s vital to remind yourself and your entire church family that no one is without sin. No one is perfect. We know it and God knows it. Here is how The Journey in Madison Wisconsin puts it:
Yes, everyone will still sin, but with God in their hearts, they ask for forgiveness and strive to live up to God’s word. Shutting out people due to race, gender, age or disability is shutting out God’s creations.
When He sees people as equal, so should the church. After all, it’s not up to the church to judge. The only time people should be excluded is if they’re causing trouble or actively strive to turn others away from God.
This is why it’s important to let everyone know that inclusion matters at your church. Talk about it on your church’s website and social media. Talk about it in sermons and help all your members understand the power of inclusion. After all, reaching the unchurched could be as easy as simply making them feel included.
Do you want to spread the word about inclusion? Start by discussing your church’s view on inclusion on your church’s website today.
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