This past weekend I hosted my annual Women’s Empowerment event in Greensboro, NC. This event is not marketed as a Christian Women’s Conference. There are no crosses for decorations, churchisms as the theme, or ecumenical titles of the speakers listed on the flier. The flier does not read, nor does it wreak “Christian”. Yet each speaker was a Christian and delivered a message that most certainly connected to the Word of God. Many of the attendees I recognized in the room were connected to me through church functions and affiliations. Others whom I recognized in the crowd are connected to me via business. The current Ms. Plus Size North Carolina was the greeter and I was ready to host.
I arrived at the venue two hours before the event to set up and prepare for the day. The vendors were getting prepared. The green room was beautifully decorated with fresh fruit and other refreshments for the speakers. During this time, two women, visibly under the influence of something, asked me about the event. Not only did I tell them all the juicy details, I handed them two free tickets to attend. An hour later when the event started these two women returned, took a seat, and were ready for the show!
There were five speakers. As each woman began to speak there was cheering, clapping, and amens all over the room! However, the loudest cheer, the most prominent amen, and the most profound call and response was that of one of the inebriated women. She made it known that she was in the room. She was finishing the speakers’ sentences, answering their rhetorical questions, laughing out loud—and I do mean OUT LOUD! She was adding her proverbial two cents to their messages without apology, speaker, after speaker, after speaker.
There were a few people irritated. At one point, I even made a “tone down” gesture toward the woman, but immediately I was convicted by the following questions. When those of us who still gather in buildings on Sunday morning for worship do so, are we there to receive the “churched” or the Whosoevers? Are we there to rub elbows with the saved or to enlarge the kingdom by making believers?
This certain woman at the event reminded me that our job is not to do church on Sunday but to be The Church everyday. Every Pew or Barna study clearly illustrates church attendance is down. When we open the physical doors of the church building, are we truly ready for the Whosoevers that are coming to enter in? All Whosoevers. Not the Whosoevers with a degree, profession, or prior church affiliations elsewhere. Not the “pretty” Whosoevers, the other Whosoevers. All Whosoevers.
The Whosoevers who don’t know the protocol or the polity of the church. The Whosoevers who don’t know the words to The Lord’s Prayer. Sure, you put it on the overhead, but are you prepared for the Whosoevers who may not be able to read? Is the Church ready for those Whosoevers? The Whosoevers who don’t know the flow of the program and whether the announcements come before the congregational song or after. The whosoevers who don’t know that “pastor” spent all week studying and preparing the sermon and that their loud and audacious call and response disturbs the rest of us. Are we ready for the cap wearing, jean sagging, sleeve-tatted, nose pierced, weed smelling, high-heeled, short skirt, Whosoevers? All Whosoevers.
The Whosoevers are coming. Some will be inebriated, some will be illiterate, some will need a bath, all will need their soul saved. You might too if you don’t care for them with the love of God when they enter. I tried really hard to resist the urge to John 3:16 you in closing, but may we all remember that because our name and ecumenical title is Whosoever, and we believeth in Him, we shall not perish, and have eternal life.