Everybody belongs. When we say everybody, we mean every color, every shape, every personality, and people with every kind of story imaginable. Everyone belongs, even before they believe.
It’s sad that we have to expound on the word “everybody” to make sure people know that we mean everybody. This is the fourth core value of Grace Hills, and like the others, it is rooted both in our understanding of the biblical role of the church as well as our overarching passion for people whom Jesus loves.
Let me clarify my theology of the church by saying that it’s a word that refers to those who are called out from the culture to be an assembly of people who commonly identify with Jesus Christ and who celebrate baptism and communion together while fulfilling the Great Commission. In other words, in the technical definition of the word “church,” it refers to Christians. But…
The Christian Church is a family that is to be constantly adopting new family members. So everybody belongs under the care of, in relationship with, and under the influence of the church. The church should be that family that always has extra guests for Thanksgiving dinner.
Though it should be enough to say that everybody belongs without qualifying who everybody is, we’ve gone ahead and made it ultra-clear who can be under the care of our church family:
- Every color. There is neither Jew nor Greek, in Christ. We want people from every ethnicity in our city represented in our church family. We don’t want people to sacrifice their culture, but rather to share it with us as we get to know and understand one another.
- Every shape. Though we don’t actually mean this physically, it is true nonetheless – tall, short, thin, well-insulated – all shapes and sizes are welcome. But what we really mean is, people with different spiritual gifts, passions, abilities, and experiences.
- Every personality. Happy-go-lucky people, grumpy people, and eccentric types are all welcome. We’re a pretty positive body of people, but we don’t require everyone to wear fake smiles and pretend to be someone else. You be you, and the real you belongs here!
- People with every kind of story imaginable. Everybody has a story and a struggle. Some have been abused, others are addicted. Some have marriages that are falling apart or have been divorced once or thrice. Others have been addicted to drugs, alcohol, pornography, or promiscuity. We’ve heard it all. We won’t let your story shock us, but we will pray that God’s grace will shock you.
Everybody belongs. God formed you for His family and He wants you to come home to Him and do life under His care as part of a community of people who are coming to know Jesus and serving others for the glory of God.
You belong. Yes you!
Also check out our recent “You Belong” video, produced by Nathan Wilson: