If you want me to go to your church then you'll smile at me when I walk in the door. And you'll continue to smile as my three rambunctious boys follow behind, jumping, pushing, and unsure of how to release their pent in energy.
You'll remember my name, or you'll at least try really hard, even if you might be wrong.
You'll tell me my children were incredibly well-behaved, even if they weren't.
If you want me to go to your church, you don't have to do these things. But if you do them, I will have a hard time staying away.
This was proven to be true over the course of the last year as our family settled into the routine of a new church family.
The first time we walked in, they acted as though my children were the most exciting and wonderful blessings on the face of the earth. Which, in all honesty, is not a reaction I'm used to.
The second time we walked in, they remembered our names.
The third time they came and grabbed our children's hands for Sunday School because they knew that Miles has a tendency to get "lost" on the way there. They encouraged Liam to participate, because they knew he's shy.
Every Sunday Alice, a woman in her early 60's gets up in front of the congregation with a young guy who is brandishing a guitar.They invite the children up with them, and the two of them sing out loud and dance with the children like crazy people that don't realize there is an entire crowd of adults in church-clothes watching them. It is the single most heart-warming and brilliant thing I've ever experienced while sitting in a pew.
I've never gone to a non-Mennonite church until now. I've always justified that by saying "Mennonite is what I know. I'm comfortable with the Mennonites." I guess the truth is that I'm more comfortable with love and humility and laughter, no matter what group of people are dishing it out. And Jesus helps too. I'd like him to be there if possible.
If you want us to come to your church - if you want us to come back over and over again...
you will bring in LOVE and HUMILITY. And most of all, you will bring in LAUGHTER.