This morning at church I met a lady named Kimberly. She just walked in off the street. While this is fairly common at our church to see new people, Kimberly just moved in across the street last month from China. Her englihsh is still developing. She told me that there are no churches in China and so this was her first time ever in a church! Ever. She came this morning because she "wanted to learn more and believe in God." Sweet.
After introducing her to a few people at the chapel I went upstairs and got her a childrens bible and sat her with Gloria, an ESL teacher, who was seated with a few other Chinese new-comers getting ready for the service.
Think about this setting for a second. How successful do you think Kimberly was in getting to know God? How well do you think we did at bridging cultural, language and spiritual boundaries? Do we feel it is her responsibility to learn, or our resonsibility to explain things to her? What is the purpose of our "service" anyway?
I guess the only measure of success in our North American churches, the only way to possibly know if she got the message, is if she comes back next week. We really have no other mechanisms to connect with her. It's sad really. Many churches I know are like this, we're stuck between thinking we are seeker-sensitive (because we have a one hour gospel service Sunday at 11) and at the same time thinking we are building up the believers. Which is it? I really wonder what Jesus would do if he met Kimberly, and which church he would direct her to? Or if He would direct her to church at all? What would you say to Kimberly? Is church supposed to be an outreach, or to minister to believers?