Does Your Church Shout “Grace!”

What does your church shout?
What does your church shout?

Every church has a certain “shout.” By that I mean a noticeable feel or impression. It’s that sense that people remember when they leave. It’s what children–and adults–take home after the service.

That impression becomes part of your church’s reputation, what you are known for.

People may or may not be able to put it into words, but it’s that unmistakable feeling that doesn’t go away.

What “shout” does your church deliver?

One family visited our church recently; their children went away calling it the “donut church.” (Presumably because we have a generous supply of all sorts of donuts on our fellowship table.)

Every church shouts something. Hopefully, no one calls our church “the boring church.”

When visitors drive away from your Sunday meeting, what’s their lasting impression?

What is grace?

Grace is God’s power poured out on us from start to finish. It is His power upholding us when we “blow it.” It is His favor lavished upon us unceasingly, even and especially when we don’t deserve it.

My wife and I once visited a church in a neighboring town. After the singing, testimony time began. One man stood up and began to talk. He confessed that he had been skipping church for weeks. He said he needed to confess: he had made a wrong moral decision. He had repented. He was there to ask forgiveness and hoped that people would accept him again.

I did not know the details, but based on the people’s response, it seemed like “grace in action” to me. Then the pastor responded kindly. Unaware, we had walked into a prodigal elders homecoming! The church was shouting “grace, grace” on him.

Three thoughts about grace to help churches give a good shout

One, Grace smiles

In other words, grace invites. Grace forgives. Grace warms people’s hearts. Grace lifts tired souls. It’s light-hearted and happy. People like to be around gracious, happy people.

Friendly, yes, and more. Are we letting the sunshine in?

Does your church feel more like Moses is in charge–or Jesus?

Two, Grace is how Jesus rules His Kingdom

We live in the Age of Grace. The 21st century is not a a throwback to the dispensation of Law. Our churches don’t need to be a throwback to the disposition of Law either.

Grace is the operational principle by which Jesus rules from start to finish in this epoch. He begins with this invitation. While we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6).

Throughout our lives, grace reigns. In fact, grace abounds (Romans 5:20-21). God lavishes grace on His family. He was adamant to start a grace relationship with us and grace will be brought to us at the final revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13).

Three, Grace is more an attitude than a doctrine

Do the altar calls in your church beckon folks to do more, work harder? Or do you leave church expectant of what God Almighty will do for you?

Do we leave looking up, sensing God is at work in us both to will and to do His good pleasure? Or do we leave sensing I’ve got to do more, pray more, give more this week?

Grace is all about Him, who He is, and what He will do. Works is about us, what we do, and must do.

The church, the spiritual house of God, will be built amidst shouts of Grace! Grace! (Zech 4:7).

Here are a couple of stories about churches I’ve visited

It was a long time ago, but I still remember it. I came alone and sat near the back. I think someone gave me a bulletin, but I’m not sure. When the meeting was over, no one approached or talked with me. I remember the color of the pews and walls, but nothing else.

That church shouted, “We don’t like people here!”

Another story. On vacation, my wife and I visited a church across town. The parking lot was filled with heavy-duty pickup trucks, and we had a little trouble finding the door. Once inside, the sermon seemed true, yet was too long (in my opinion) and kind of boring.

But during prayer requests, a couple of the people asked prayer for their ailing horses! And about half the people, men and women alike, wore cowboy boots!

When we described our experience of that church, we said, “They really like horses!”

My wife and I call them “the Cowboy Church!”

Now, all joking aside, What does your church “shout” to visitors?

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