By “exciting,” I don’t mean extra-lively music or extra-dynamic preaching. It was an exciting service at Queen Street Baptist Church in a totally unexpected and unplanned way.
We had a young man come in late to the service. That is not unusual for us. Many people come 5-10 minutes late and it is common for people to arrive halfway through our service. But this was different.
We were just starting our congregational prayer time and I noticed our outreach director moving toward the man. He was quite agitated but was not saying anything. He was making frantic gestures but nothing was being said. He refused our outreach director’s attempts to move to the lobby to discuss what was going on. He then began to pace back and forth up the aisle. He eventually came on the platform with me and sat down in the chair beside the pulpit and increased in agitation. It was a bit scary.
Just to give some context, we are a downtown church and our community includes a lot of people with both mental illness and addictions. It is not unusual to have people with such struggles at our church. It is unusual to have this activity happening during the service.
Thankfully we have some great people in our congregation. Between our outreach director, one of our ushers and another person in our congregation, they were able to get him outside and get him the help he needed. It is not that people with addictions and mental illness are not welcome at our church, but we want to make sure church is safe for everyone, including the person struggling.
The ironic thing is that my sermon was titled, “Do Not Be Quick to Judge.” It was all about the danger of rejecting or dismissing people based on their labels or hasty judgments. The truth is that we have no idea what was happening with this young man. We don’t know what led him to that moment. All of this was going through my mind as he came up on the platform with me.
My Good News is that our congregation responded well. Not only did our people keep everyone was safe, there was also compassion. we prayed for and will continue to pray for this young man.
Why do I blog about Good News?