In my first weeks of motherhood, Aaron and I took turns throughout the night putting Isabella back to sleep. I was determined to calm her cries and let Aaron sleep. Bouncing, swinging, walking, swaying, singing...I tried them all. After her eyes closed and I waited a while to make sure she wasn't faking it, I'd lay her down in her crib and tip toe back to bed. It was a huge accomplishment in the early weeks when she stayed asleep!
Now that she's almost ten weeks old, I've gotten to know her a lot better. I know what she likes and doesn't like...what makes her smile and what will almost always cause her to scream. The bedtime process has more meaning because I don't see her as a challenge to be accomplished. She's our sleepy daughter and we get to help her have a good nights rest. And it's an enjoyable part of my day!
We sometimes treat people outside the Sunday morning church crowd like this. We see them as a challenge. If we get the "right" music, worship time, child care, pastors, worship leaders, sermons, etc. then they'll come pouring in our doors. We're only reinforcing the idea that worship is actually about us. But last time I checked we don't come on Sunday mornings to worship our preferences. We worship a God who loves us even when we don't get it.
And as long as we don't have much of a relationship with those "outside" the church, it's easy to see them as a faceless, nameless thing to conquer.
But when we spend time with people, really get to know them, their dreams and fears...
...our entire understanding of church changes.