If the Church was like Walmart…

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Everyone would be allowed to come inside.

The rich. The poor.  All races and cultures welcomed. Diversity would be applauded.

The handicapped could work alongside those that are well. Single moms with a baby on their hip could walk in at 2 am and find food. Senior citizens would be honored as greeters by the front doors.

We’d stay open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Loud, rambunctious teens from the wrong side of the tracks might cause a ruckus in the parking lot. Shady characters would loiter out front. But they wouldn’t keep consumers away.

What’s on the inside is worth the awkward company and irreverent glances: Food.Drink. Community.

Sure, we’d be teased for our colorful clientele. We’d even be teased for our ragamuffin staff. But lives depend on us to keep offering necessities at all hours of the day or night without regard to economic, religious, or educational status. This is the secret to our success after all.

We appeal to the masses. 


 

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God is waiting for His church to be like Walmart to the world. Open door policy? Check. People with unattractive baggage allowed to enter? Check. The sick can serve too? Check.

After all, we are here for the lost. NOT the FOUND. We offer something the world can never give them: A man named Jesus. Bread of Life. Living Water. Friend of Sinners.

I don’t recall Him turning anyone away. He sure as heck didn’t have any conditions on who could come in. In fact, he hung out with those that were on the bottom rung of societal class. He even called them friends.

Like Walmart, the Church was meant to appeal to every single person. That’s scary to our very safe, westernized Christianity. There might be some thugs in the parking lot making shady deals on the side if we do this. But they’ll only be able to resist the pull to come in for so long. Eventually they will see why everyone else chooses to walk through those doors.

Like the woman at the well, these typically ignored hooligans will be among those that drink from the well of eternal life. In their new-found freedom, they will go and tell everyone they know about this man named Jesus. About a place to come where satisfaction is guaranteed.

Church, can we be like Walmart? Not here to make our outside glamorous or attract attention through flashy signs. Here to look like Jesus. And if I remember correctly, He wasn’t too concerned about appearances. (Hence, the Cross.)

 

“Is anyone thirsty?

Come and drink—

even if you have no money!

Come, take your choice of wine or milk—

it’s all free!

Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength?

Why pay for food that does you no good?

Listen to me, and you will eat what is good.

You will enjoy the finest food.”

Isaiah 55:1-2 

 

photo credit: Walmart via photopin (license)
photo credit: Historic city hall and the church of St. Nikolai in Stralsund, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany via photopin (license)
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