Relationships with unchurched sometimes messy

Posted: October 8, 2013 by efenster in Ideas, Stories
Tags: , ,

Junior“So we have painters at our house,” my wife said to me over the phone.  “How did you know?” I asked a bit unnerved.  “Because our neighbor sent me a text commenting on the interesting music our painters are listening to.”  “Oh,” I said, as a big red flag rose in my head. “Yea, she [our neighbor] said the words were even shocking to a south-side hip-hop girl,” referring to herself, “that she was going to have to turn up her kids’ Raffi music.”

Well, I immediately went out and told our painters that there were young kids next door, so would they please tone down their music.  They apologized profusely and immediately changed music.

This just illustrates what many times happens when we build relationships with people for the sake of the Gospel.  It can get messy.  My painters had no idea that the lyrics of their music would be offensive to my neighbors, just as we Christians have no idea how offensive some of the stuff we do is–like asking strangers about their relationship with Christ when we don’t even seem to care what their names are or what’s going on in their lives.

Being in relationship with our unchurched brothers and sisters requires both parties to step into each other’s worlds and to see things through the eyes of the other.  True there will be bumps along the way, but that’s part of what it takes.

I’m pleased to report that the house looks great–after I spent a day touching up the detail work.  And I’m looking forward to continuing to build relationships with my new-found friends.

How about you?  How are you doing as you are the church in your neighborhood, with your neighbors?  May we be salt and light.  May God use us to bring the Good News!

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development

(You can read more about my painters in last week’s blog article.)


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