Over the past few weeks, I have been pondering what it means to be part of a faith community. When I am in a group setting I am often aware of what may not make sense to a newcomer. I find this to be true in worship, events, camp, meetings, etc. I believe that this has developed primarily from my service as a pastor at Resurrection. As an organization, we pay particular attention to welcoming first time guests.
The reality of insiders and outsiders in a community has troubled me in some circumstances. However, I recently realized that it is necessary to have insiders and outsiders for a community to have boundaries and any sort of cohesiveness. Without insiders and outsiders, the church would not have any distinction from the rest of the world and the people of the church would not be expected to live to any different standard.
God has not called the church to be a community without borders. There are clear boundaries of belief and practice that identify the church. The question is not, In regard to the church, are there insiders and outsiders? because the answer to that question is necessarily, Yes. The important question is, How are outsiders welcomed and invited to become insiders? How do we live as a community where every person – inside and out – is invited to take a step forward in the journey of becoming a deeply committed Christian?