The "Cool Christian Club" or the "Modern Christian" club can be an intimidating one to become a member of. The beautiful, hand-lettered journal Bibles, the artisan coffees, and inspirational quotes printed on mugs, water bottles, and shirts. It can be investment of sorts to join the club, seeking the fellowship this club has to offer. But we have not been called to be popular. We have not been called to be cool. We have not been called to hang our hammocks up and hold Bible studies from them. We have been called to walk a path of faith, following in the steps of our Lord. He asked us to "come and follow me" in Matthew 4:19. We are not given time to kiss our mothers and fathers good-bye, nor are we guaranteed to have a place to rest our head (Luke 9:57-62). It was never intended to be easy.
We should seek good Christian fellowship; we should surround ourselves with people that help us walk with our Lord. Just as the Disciples had one another, there is no reason why we cannot lean on each other. But the exclusivity of our group needs to be re-examined and re-considered. Are we rejoicing in a fellowship that embraces our differences? Do we invite people to join our community of faith with open arms? Just as Christ ministered to those who did not belong in society: the unclean, the lepers, and the Gentiles.
I really want to focus on that third group, the Gentiles that Jesus ministered to. The Jewish community was (and is) a close-knit one. They were not a welcoming community to those who were not, called the Gentiles. But Jesus taught that the Gentiles were also God's children and were also called to be a part of God's Kingdom. This idea was revolutionary, no longer was faith a matter of birth right, but of choice. Similarly, many of us are raised in church-going households. We share our faith with parents, grandparents, and siblings; it is as natural to us as breathing. But our long-standing traditions can be uninviting to those who are new to the faith. Our close-knit Bible studies and church organizations can be intimidating to join. And that "Cool Christians Club" that was mentioned earlier is not only expensive, it is intimidating.
We are not called to minister to those who are already sitting in church. We are called to minister to those who are standing outside of it. Just as the Apostles were called to set sail, leaving behind the security of dry land to become fishers of men, we must also set sail. The best way to do this is to leave our community behind and go forth with open arms and nets, inviting others in, rather than leaving them out.