This topic is adapted from the PursueGOD Video YouTube channel.
Throughout life, we come across people who are different from us. Our natural inclination is to be drawn to those who are more like us. Inside the church, even, people are more likely to draw themselves toward those most like them.
The Typical Church Attender
Churches are often heavily populated with families. Married couples, parents with children, even grandparents, are often the people making the most obvious impression within the church and at church functions. These people often gravitate towards others who, like themselves, have family members in the church
The Outsiders Within
Also, within the church are those who do not have biological family members. It could be that they have no other family, or they may have family that live far away. They may be unmarried, either by choice, or they are waiting for God to send them that person. They could even have same-sex urges but choose to honor God and not follow those urges. Because of their different marital or social status, they feel left out of the family-dominated culture of the church.
God’s Promise to Outsiders
In Isaiah 56:3-5, God promises to not exclude foreigners, those who were not Israelites by birth, who follow him. Eunuchs, who are unable to father children, are promised that if they follow him, will have their names written on the walls of his house. These are two biblical examples which reflect modern day outsiders. God makes this promise to them personally because he knows that his people can easily neglect or exclude themselves from those who are different from them. This happened in Bible times and still happens today.
God’s Call to the Church
In Psalm 68:6, God speaks of his loving action towards the lonely. He says that he places them in families, not to be left alone. The call to the church is to be that family that God adds the lonely, so that his love is experienced by everyone.
Who are the lonely people in your church? Do you actively look for them so you can bring them into your spiritual family? God will place them in a family. He has promised and calls the church to bring the lonely into his spiritual family.
Written content on this topic by David Bassett.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Discuss a time when you attended a church and felt alone or lonely. Why did you feel that way?
- Name some examples of outsiders seen inside the church. What makes these people “outsiders?”
- Discuss how difficult or unnatural it can be to approach and include someone in the church who has a different family or social status than your own. Why is it difficult for you?
- Read Isaiah 56:3-5. Why did God make a promise to these specific groups?
- Share ways you can be a part of fulfilling God’s promise to the outsiders to place them into a family.
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.