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Coffee Cover Up

June 11, 2012
by

Seattle is famous for coffee shops. You don’t need to drive more than a few blocks on any main street and you can stop and get your coffee any way you like. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous drive-through owners have been selling sex with their espresso. These stands dangle many and varied enticements provocatively promoting what they serve.

Into such an environment, one neighborhood stand decided to state the obvious, “We wear clothes.” Some of us assume that in a climate where the temperature hovers between 40 and 60 degrees much of the year, clothing is not optional work attire! Sometimes what is offered in a business is muddied by the marketing. Thus the declaration, “We wear clothes.”

Churches could learn a little from the sign. What are people looking for in a church? Are we serving Jesus, offering grace, and extending hope? Not always. We can get wrapped up in our lingo, our music, and our programs. We know where to sit and who to hang with. We can be pretty heavy on the side of conditional love, rigid legalism, and condescending self-righteousness. We can’t see anything wrong with what we do; we feel very comfortable. But to the unsuspecting guest, they may be ambushed by a list of requirements to get in the club or be accepted by the group. We know what style of dress is comfortable for the group. We know what lifestyle choices are condoned by the people. We even know what sins are tolerated or ignored!

What would it look like if our churches just offered Jesus and left all the judgment in his capable hands? How many churches can honestly say they offer Jesus with no cream or sugar, no flavor or ice, just Jesus – straight? What changes do we need to make to assure people they will feel welcome when they walk in? What sign do we need to put in front of our church to assure people it is safe to come inside?

I’m grateful for coffee stands that cover up. I’m afraid the church may need to strip down!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 11, 2012 3:00 PM

    Amen, amen, amen. As someone who works in church marketing, I’m on my guard to make sure that we’re not engaging in false advertising. Are we delivering what people expect once they set foot in the doors of our churches or decide to join a small group? Do we offer community and hospitality with one hand, yet have our list of exceptions and conditions in the other?

    Sometimes, I think we in the church are scared to offer up ‘just’ Jesus and let the Holy Spirit do her thing. We feel we need to package up church and dress it up, but the truth is the Gospel can speak for itself if people are willing to authentically live that out in their own lives.

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