- “The first kind of church is the church that doesn’t love. At least, it doesn’t seem to. As you look around the church you see people sitting quietly on their own. When the service ends, people leave quickly and without engaging in conversation, without enjoying fellowship.”
- “The second kind of church is the church that loves one another. I’ve been to this church many times and have been part of it as well. In this church the people seem to genuinely love each another and to enjoy spending time together. As you look around as a visitor you see people talking and laughing and praying together. You see true community. But you see it all as you stand awkwardly waiting for someone to take notice of you, to extend some of that fellowship to a stranger.”
- “The third kind of church is the church that loves you. I have been to this church a couple of times and have been part of it at times as well. In this church the people love one another, but they make a special effort to break away from the safety of their friendships to welcome others. Sure they are excited to see one another but they are also excited to see newcomers and to welcome them whether they are there for just one service or whether they are thinking of settling in for the long haul. These people understand that Christian fellowship extends beyond the safe bounds of friendship and embraces perfect strangers.”
Challies concludes his post by stating,
“I am convinced that the third church is the most biblical. Certainly it is the one I love to visit and the one I want to be part of. But the irony is not lost on me that I struggle to welcome new people. I struggle to be the one who steps outside of that comfort zone to reach out to others. Thus the challenge is a personal one: If I am to be part of this church, I need to be the one who takes that initiative, the one who warmly welcomes friend and stranger alike.”
What kind of church do you attend? How would you describe the quality and practice of love in your church?