This is part 3 in a series of posts that aim to flesh out some of the things that we most value here at Sojourn.  So far we have hit on The Centrality of Grace and Deep Content…today is Broad Appeal.

I also want to keep reminding you that these values are for all of us.  Not just for our pastors and not just on Sundays.  We invite all Sojourners to care about these every day because each of these values reflects the heart of God towards people.

Broad appeal

As mentioned in Part 1, we want the grace of Jesus Christ to saturate our selves, our families, our church, our city and our world.  Then, as mentioned in Part 2, we want the depth of his truth to be unleashed in an intelligent way.  In practice, what does that look like?  We believe it looks like a church that cares about every person in every stage.

We want to be a church family that proactively loves and befriends the weak, the lonely, the outcast, the misunderstood, the broken, and the struggler.  This world can be super tough and many of us are oblivious to the benefits that we have grown up with that many others have never had.  We want them to feel welcomed by us.

We want to be a church family that proactively loves and befriends those who have failed, those who have sinned, those who are skeptical, those who are critical, and those who are angry at God.  We see consistently through the life of Jesus that the immoral and the rebels were drawn to him.  Jesus was sinless and yet the worst of sinners couldn’t get enough of him.  We want them to be as free as possible to find Jesus here.

We want to be a church family that proactively loves and befriends those who don’t think they need anything, those who are arrogant, those who are self-righteous and those who are hypocrites.  If we are honest, we know that we were all of those things and often still are.  We do not come together as a church to worship because we don’t have problems.  We come together to worship precisely because our eyes have been opened to our own sinfulness and our desperate need for the righteousness of Another.

We want to be a church family that proactively loves and befriends those who are liberal and those who are conservative, those who are younger and those who are older, both genders, all races, and all economic conditions.  This involves an intense commitment to being a church not for ourselves.  We are all free to have preferences, but we must never allow our preferences to slow the work of sharing Jesus.  This is a huge piece to making more and better disciples.

There is another key: our desire is for our church family, made up of all these various groups, to experience both disruption and a sense of home.  We are committed to learning about Jesus, and he is going to both comfort us and call us out.  He is constantly flexing the muscle of compassion and the muscle of conviction.  At Sojourn we should feel deeply connected and deeply convicted.  We are often going to be offended by what Jesus says and we will often be encouraged by what Jesus says.

We could easily have broad appeal by just picking and choosing the light and easy parts of the Bible that people nod at and applaud.  But what is the result of that?  I would suggest that the result is making no disciples at all.  Our commitment to broad appeal involves a welcoming posture towards all people while, at the same time, letting Jesus and his truth step on all of our toes; because if we have a Jesus that never disagrees with us, then we can be sure that we have a Jesus of our own making.