What do I mean by a funnel? Well this is an analogy that just came to me so please bear with me. But if you think of Church as pulling in from all types of people in all sorts of situations (the wide part of the funnel) and we work to help disciple people and, probably unfortunately, force them all out of the same small end of the funnel. It is almost like a twelve step program. You follow the pattern and you come out the other end of the funnel a nice perfect church goer right?
But what do you do when people don’t fit into your funnel?
Mike Yaconelli wrote a pretty cool book years ago called Messy Spirituality and in it he talked about a young couple in the church who had gotten pregnant before getting married which normally results in quietly getting married while everyone ignores the issue or the couple completely disappearing from the church. This couple however was welcomed back with a wedding reception after their elopement. Shortly after reading this I was faced with just this situation. A young couple in our church found them selves “in trouble” as my parents’ generation put it. They got married and we as a church threw a reception for them to let them know we loved them. They are still together to this day and I am so happy they are still in a Godly loving community.
I have found however that even though I hate the idea of the funnel I am so used to it that I don’t know how to function without it. If there isn’t a program where you take this class and join that ministry I really am not sure what to do with myself. “Be a Christian”, “Live out the Gospel” you may say but I am still doing a lot of de-toxing when it comes to these things so that isn’t as easy as it looks.
I have recently found myself again in a situation where people didn’t fit in the funnel. They did things out of order and I am struggling to know how exactly to deal with it because it is messy. There isn’t one right answer and I want there to be one right answer.
What I have found is grace is messy. It finds us in the strangest places and brings us along providing all that it demands. You really begin to see the power of God’s grace when you live outside the funnel. When you are involved with people who don’t follow the “right” paths, you see God all the brighter.