There are two signs outside of our church. The north entrance says “Welcome Rabble Rousers and Rebels” while the east entrance proclaims “Welcome Misfits and Miscreants.” When we first made these signs, we thought people would read them and chuckle as they came into our building. But, for some, these signs are a gospel unto themselves.
“Misfits” perceive our church to be a safe haven in a way I never could have imagined. Because misfits could be anyone, anyone at all, who feel as though church would never be a hospitable environment: strippers, addicts, teens, millionaires, unicorns … you name it. If there’s someone who feels out of place in society, then seeing our “Welcome Misfits” sign has been like a lighthouse on a wet rock.
How do we pastor these people? How do we help them move beyond identification primarily through their inability to fit in, and instead incorporate them into the family of God? How do we help them take the next step, and the next, and the next as they mature and grow in Christ? I don’t know.
The Bible is not sufficiently specific to function as a policy for many of today’s complex issues. So, we take it a step at a time, case by case, heart by heart, person by person, trusting the guidance of the Spirit. We provide reprieve for those who need it and work alongside them until God illuminates the way forward.
That’s how the church of the future will proceed: carefully, in constant communication with the Spirit, welcoming everybody.