Community: Inclusive

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’re aware that I’m not a people-person. I would much rather do logistical tasks or high-level planning instead of being out with the people. I’ve learned how to be friendly and welcoming and inclusive, but that’s not my natural instinct or talent. Naturally, I am isolating and insulating.

I am so thankful for inclusive friends. I have one friend in particular who is always looking for reasons to include others. I’ll make plans with her and, inevitably, she’ll ask me if she can invite someone else. I always say “yes” but I never would’ve thought to include that person because I was so focused on spending time with my friend. Thankfully, she’s always looking for reasons to include.

Community should be like my friend: looking for reasons to include not reasons to exclude.

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Acts 2:46-47 (ESV)

The early church was constantly adding to their number. They were like my friend, always welcoming people in.

More than just being inclusive of new members, we get to continue to be inclusive of those who are already in community. This is possibly even harder for me than welcoming new people in. When someone does something to hurt me or, worse, to hurt someone I care about, I have tendency to be “done” with them. This means that I will move them from the “I love you” column to the “I’m indifferent about you” column. If that person comes back repentant and longing to rejoin community I often struggle to accept them. I am very slow to trust again. But forgiveness and inclusion are so important in community. After all, that’s what Jesus does for us {tweet this}.

I am so thankful for my inclusive friends who continue in relationship with me despite my many shortcomings. I am grateful for those who keep short records of my foolish and hurtful mistakes. I strive to be like them more every single day.

What are ways that you can reach out and include those in your community today? What does it mean to you to be inclusive?

To go deeper: Read Includers


Download Community: You’re Welcome at the Table, a free PDF, at sarahjcallen.com/community

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2 Comments

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  1. Hi Sarah, I find the term “inclusive” can be a loaded term. In you article, you already assume a community of “repentant” people – as an underlying reality of how people come together in fellowship in Christ. As you confess here and other articles on community – community is messy even at its best, and it is the crucible in which we learn to be more Christ-like as we buffet with people who expose our edges and prejudices; we have so much to grow in deep Christ-like love, knowing we get it wrong… often. I prefer to use the term “respectful” than “inclusive” – to highlight the need to be Christlike in relation to people with whom we’d disagree, but whom we invite into His fellowship – along with fellow sinners saved by grace like me. Still learning. Grace to you.

    Liked by 1 person

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