Shirts and shoes required
SPRINGFIELD, MO. Restaurants and department stores keep out
unwanted customers by posting a sign: "Shirts and shoes required." Churches
dont post such signs, but some congregations wear their attitudes
on their sleeves. They sanitize their sanctuaries with glares that say,
"Youre not welcome here you dont fit."
These same congregations of various denominations wonder
why theyre not growing. They dont understand that their
unwritten rules and unrealistic dress codes are "no trespassing" signs;
and by turning people away, they turn the Holy Spirit away. The Lord
will not bless a church where upholding personal tastes is more important
than meeting the spiritual needs of people.
Some churchgoers petition God to build their church even at
the expense of others. But God does not honor their prayers because
He sees their pride. They seek church growth more than saved souls.
They endeavor to fill pews so they can gloat over Sunday morning attendance,
year-end financial reports and giving records. Their church has become
a possession rather than a mission.
Fortunately todays young people have rejected this form of religious
elitism and embraced the priorities and words of Christ: "Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my
yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls" (Matthew 11:28,29, NIV).
Young people interpret this to say, "Come to Jesus as you are with
all your cares and problems and He will give you peace and rest." Theyve
learned to look beyond a persons hairstyle, history and habits
and see the potential of the heart. Theyre more interested in
ones soul than his or her brand of shoes or taste in music.
This generation of young people deserves to be cheered and trusted
by the church. They hear enough jeers from the enemy. Today is National
Youth Day in the Assemblies of God, so take a moment to tell a young
person youre grateful he or she belongs to your church. Hand them
a copy of this magazine and tell them youre praying for them.
You may not listen to contemporary Christian music and, as a result,
this special youth edition of the Pentecostal Evangel doesnt
interest you. Nevertheless, take heart in knowing thousands of young
people will be inspired by testimonies from Jars of Clay, Third Day,
Sara Groves and The Katinas.
This edition is our way of saying to the young people of the Assemblies
of God, "You are welcome here."