I received an email this past week from a friend who happens to be the Lead Pastor of a great church just one city away from where I pastor. He wanted me to know that a wonderful couple from his church was now attending the church where I pastor. He was not bitter. He just wanted me to reach out to them and make sure they feel welcome and get connected. He wanted to be sure they were part of a Bible believing, outreach oriented local church…and he did not care if it was the church where he was pastor.
After Sunday services this past weekend a young woman came up to me to talk and pray. She was struggling because she had spent a good deal of time in Europe this last year and had grown to love the liturgy, hymns, and a more traditional style of worship. She told me she missed it because she really connected with God during her time in Europe and her experiences in some traditional worship settings.
Our church is quite contemporary in style. So, I told her about Carmel Presbyterian Church. I assured her that she would find traditional worship, sing hymns, and that I was confident the people there would be welcoming and embrace her. I also told her that the two pastors are friends of mine and I truly respect them. The church is biblical and they have a deep love for the lost in their community. I said, “I want to encourage you to go visit there.” She looked a bit surprised and a little hurt. I went on to say, “I love having you as part of Shoreline Church. I am not trying to drive you away. But, I want you to be where you can really connect with God. I encourage you to explore this other great church.” She smiled and I prayed with her…for God’s leading in her life and walk with Jesus.
Simple truth…not every church is for everyone. And, not every church fits the same people through their whole journey of faith. If someone does not fit at your church, if they are longing for a very different worship experience, if they can’t find a place to connect, it is OK to refer them to another biblical and loving church community. The family of God is much bigger than any one church or denomination. Don’t be shy to point people to other churches.