On my radio show yesterday on 101.5 here in Gaylord, Michigan, I talked about how the church could be more like a bar. Remember the old sitcom, Cheers? I believe it was actually meant to be a one season fill-in but it took off like wildfire. Why did it become so famous? I think the answer is because it was a show about a lot of what we might classify today as "losers." Remember the cast?
Sam - a washed up athlete
Woody - a mail airhead
Karla - a bitter barmaid
Frasier - a psychotic psychiatrist
Cliff - a nerdy mailman
And then there was Norm. He was the loser of all losers. He was an alcoholic. He was overweight. He could not hold down a job. His own family had no respect for him. Yet, everyday when he walked into the Cheers bar, what did everyone do? They all yelled, "NORM!"
I think the show took off because so many people in our world today feel like losers and for 30-minutes each week, by identifying with one of these interesting characters, people could find what they are searching for - ACCEPTANCE! Remember the theme song to the show?
Wouldn't you like to have a place where everybody knows your name and they're always glad you came. Wouldn't you like to be where you can see our troubles are all the same. Wouldn't you like to go where everyone knows your name!
And where was that place? It was a bar! I say, "Why can't that place be the church?" Why can't E-Free Church be that place in Gaylord where all people, even those who feel like losers, can come and find acceptance, love and friendship. Ministry doesn't begin by asking people to change. Ministry begins by meeting people right where they are at and then helping to move them step by step to where God wants them to be.
Don't take me wrong, but maybe we should put a big neon sign out in front of our church that says, "The Bar is Open!" After all, we serve the best drink in town - the living water of Jesus Christ. And once you drink from that tap, you'll never thirst again!