You Are Welcome

welcome mat

welcome mat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Burning Question:  First time here.  I’m white from the West Coast.  I have a black lady friend on the West Coast.  Would she be welcome here?  I know there are many blacks in and around Savannah.  Is this church reaching out to them?  Honestly, I have been the only white in a black [church], and it is hard to be totally comfortable.  Maybe that is what is going on here.  Just like to hear your take on it.

I suppose every person has their “button” that, when pushed, opens a floodgate of emotion that many have never seen.  One of my “buttons” is when someone who claims to have a relationship with an unconditionally-loving God chooses to disregard or discriminate against someone of a different race.

I know of few ways that a believer in Christ could be any more unlike Jesus Christ than when they act in such ways.  Jesus demonstrated His intense love for others regardless of racial background or identity.  One of the clearest demonstrations was when He invested His life in the life of an outcast Samaritan woman in John 4.  Samaritans in the first century were completely avoided by supposedly “upstanding” Jews because of animosity based largely upon race.  Jesus did not hesitate to cross that barrier and destroy that horrendous mindset.

In one of His most famous parables, the Parable of the Good Samaritan, He chose to make the “villains” a couple of Jewish religious leaders and the “hero” a Samaritan traveler (Luke 10:25-37).  I would have loved to have seen the faces of His hearers when He jerked the curtain back on that jewel of a story!

In one of Paul’s letters, Ephesians 2:14-16 can certainly be applied to showing the unity that should exist between races because of the unity that comes through relationship with Christ.

I absolutely despise any form of discrimination against another person because of their race.  So, the answer to the first part of this question is that any person of any background and any race is welcomed at First Baptist Church of the Islands and should be in any church that claims Christ as their Lord.  We also take steps to GO with Gospel to others in our city regardless of race, with one of the more recent steps being to involve ourselves in ministry to an urban community in our city.  The day our doors close to a segment of our population because of their skin color is the day that God likely chooses to distance Himself from this church.

Sadly, the fact exists that the most segregated hour in America continues to be 11:00am-Noon on Sunday mornings.  Perhaps greater steps could be taken by every believer of every race in churches across our country . . . steps that seek to embrace and work alongside one another for the furthering of the Gospel.  What a reflection of Christ that would be.  And what a testimony to the world that God is a God who reconciles lost people to Himself and saved people to one another!