The sign on the door reads “Church for All People”. It is easy to interpret that by looking at people who are normally excluded from many churches and say that those people are welcome here. One could say our church includes people in deep poverty, people who sleep on the streets, and people with addiction issues.
These statements are true, but incomplete. Our community is much broader than that.
Over the last month, I have become well acquainted with the medical campus of the Ohio State University.
A few weeks ago I attended the doctoral dissertation of our worship leader and Neighborhood Leadership Academy Dean, Katelin Hansen. While I may not have grasped the nuances of neuroscience, our community of All People offered a powerful presence at her defense.
Yesterday I attended student presentations of a health science leadership course. All of the presentations were creative, energetic, engaging, and offered fresh perspectives on what can happen in the world.
A group of health science students I worked with for the last several months offered the presentation I came to see. They developed a behavioral assessment tool we will use to measure how people make different health and nutrition choices based on our programming. But over these months, I didn’t simply watch these students fulfill an assignment, but become part of our community. They stocked produce in the market, talked with people in the free store, taught health classes, heard stories, and found themselves under the umbrella of All People.
At the same time, our resident dietician, Brian Polzner, is preparing to graduate. While he is struggling to type final papers, he has also been an integral part of All People. He has invited participants to live healthier, while being welcomed in to people’s lives in intimate ways. People have opened their hearts and shared stories of deeply personal experiences with him.
All people truly means all people. Not only the inclusion of the excluded, but also the inclusion of the neuroscientist, health science student, and dietician without whom we would be incomplete. We are better for every person who walks through our doors, for every person reveals another facet of the character of God.