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4 Groups the Church Often Forgets

Shakia Clark

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Updated May 12, 2022
4 Groups the Church Often Forgets

The Church is great for building community, but we have failed if we only look for those we know, those who look like us, or those who make us feel comfortable. 

Jesus tells us in John 14 “there is more than enough rooms in my Father’s home.” He was saying everyone has a place within the Kingdom of God. But why doesn’t it always feel that way? It can be easy to feel overlooked, undervalued, or that there’s simply no room for you in this world. And some may even feel this way within the house of God. Even though Jesus is clear in His word, how can we make sure people receive this truth no matter what is happening in the world?

The church was a place where Jesus was often seen teaching. There’s a famous passage in John 2 where we see Jesus clearing the temple because of the wrongs taking place, but He said “Passion for God’s house will consume me” (v 17). This zeal that Jesus had for His Father’s house should be the same zeal we have today. 

Unfortunately, we have seen people leave the church for numerous reasons. Some churches have grown over the years and others are struggling to get their congregation back through the doors after the pandemic.

According to Barna’s research on the state of the Church, we see a decline in church attendance across generations: Elders, Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z.

In many instances, the church has failed to be the church, leaving people to feel as if the church is no different from the world. 

How can the church help? I believe one of the greatest ways to help is to be the church everywhere we go. We should be the church in the way we love unconditionally and always look for an opportunity to see and serve the needs of others; however, the church has traditionally overlooked various groups of people making it difficult for them to feel the unconditional love they also deserve.

Below are four groups the church often forgets:

1. First-time Guests

Sometimes we can get caught up in seeing our friends at church that we miss those visiting for the first time. Anyone who walks through the doors of the church should feel welcomed in the house of God. They should feel the joy of hospitality as they are greeted with welcome arms. We can’t be too busy setting up for the service or seeing friends that we miss those the Lord has brought into His house to be fed spiritually. 

Our hospitality matters. We don’t want to distract someone from receiving the Gospel message because they didn’t feel welcomed. It may seem like a small gesture but if someone doesn’t feel welcomed from the beginning, the enemy can easily use that as a distraction from what will be taught in the message. If you are unsure if they are a first-time guest, try being hospitable and introducing yourself to them as it may just be someone you haven’t met yet. If Jesus brought them there, the least we can do is help them feel at home.

2. The Lost

Jesus came for the lost, the sick, and those in need of His help. Matthew 9:12 (NIV) “Jesus said, 'It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'” 

Many times churches can easily get into the routine of Sunday service that we miss the heart behind it all. The Church is great for building community, but we have failed if we only look for those we know, those who look like us, or those who make us feel comfortable. Did you notice the one who walked into your doors alone, the woman with tears in her eyes, or maybe the man walked in late barely holding on? Church is an opportunity to reach those for Jesus - our goal as Christians is to populate heaven, and if we miss an opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation to help reach them, we have missed the mark. 

Romans 10:9-13 “If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, 'Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.' For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'” 

If we are not giving people a chance to declare this out loud, we are missing a pivotal opportunity to reach those whom Jesus has placed in our congregations to reach. People are coming to church because they are in need of a revelation, they are in need of a Savior; point them to Jesus and give them an opportunity to make the best decision of their lives.

3. Singles

Being unmarried in a world that glorifies marriage can be difficult. It can be easy to feel overlooked, unseen, and undervalued as the Church often blesses those who are married and omits those who are single. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:32-34 that singles have an opportunity to be fully devoted to the Lord whereas married couples are divided in their attention. Singles are in a unique position to fully serve the church where they feel called and commit their singleness to the Lord; however, they need the Church to come alongside them. 

Singleness can be challenging, but we cannot afford to forget singles as they prepare their hearts for marriage if that is the Lord’s will for their lives. But those who feel called to a life of singleness need to hear from the Church that they are just as valued and have a beautiful life ahead of them as a single man or woman fully devoted to the Lord’s will for their lives.

4. Marginalized Communities

There are many in the pews on Sunday who have been overlooked all week because of the color of their skin. Marginalized communities are yearning to see the church be the Church - to see them as being made in the image of God (Genesis 2:26) and coming alongside them to help combat the injustices they face on a daily basis. Psalm 103:6 says “The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.” Jesus cares about the marginalized communities, and as a church, we should care about the things and people He cares for. Jesus has called us to love our neighbors (Matthew 22:39). We may not always agree with our neighbors, but we are called to love them as ourselves. To love them is to see them, to hear them, and to do life with them. We can’t just serve the marginalized communities, we need to invite them into spaces and seek to uplift them in the midst of the world beating them down.

The Church is such a special place to build communities amongst people of different backgrounds, ethnic groups, and various opinions. It is an opportunity to commune with those you may not have met any other way, but whether you have a big or small church, there has to be intentionality to see the congregation. To do life with all those you’ve been entrusted with, yet we cannot get so caught up with implementing a smooth church service that we miss the people. We have to remember people over processes because God is being strategic on who to bring through the doors. It is not by accident that someone is coming to your church, but we have to be ready to meet the needs of those who are desiring to be seen and remembered - not for what they can bring to the church but to be seen and remembered because they are a child of the Most High God and are welcomed in the house of God.

Since Jesus builds the church, we need the heart of Jesus to love and see all of His people. No one should ever leave feeling forgotten and overlooked. Jesus loves everyone, and because He loves the overlooked, we should love them even more.

Photo Credit: ©RNS/Bob Smietana

Shakia Clark Author HeadshotShakia Clark is a writer, marketer, and servant leader who is passionate about encouraging women to experience God’s best for their lives. She has a heart for women to see themselves the way that God sees them. She finds joy in coming alongside them in their journey. When she isn’t writing, you can find her spending time with friends and family, traveling, reading, trying new recipes, or actively serving her community. She blogs at www.shakiaclark.com.