Last year “Billy” joined our church’s youth group. He always showed up in a thrift store sport jacket and highwater slacks. A huge Doctor Who fan, he carried a plastic space screwdriver he had made himself, and quickly earned the nickname “Doctor.” His conversation was bright, but often a little weird.
Billy had dropped out of public school when he got fed up with being bullied. He had quit attending another youth group when the other students ganged up on him during dodge ball. Billy had trouble fitting in.
One Sunday during our church’s open-mic God-sighting time, I shared how I had seen God in the way our youth so warmly welcomed Billy. They were always excited to see him. “I love it,” I said, “that this is a church where misfits fit in.”
In a prophecy Christians understand to be fulfilled in Jesus, Isaiah wrote:
He was despised and rejected—
a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.
We turned our backs on him and looked the other way.
He was despised, and we did not care.
(Is. 53:3 NLT)
Paul reminded the Christians at Corinth:
“Few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.”
(1 Corinthians 1:26-28 NLT)
If Jesus was a misfit, as were most of his first followers, shouldn’t the church be the most welcoming place on earth for misfits?
A few weeks after my “Billy” God-sighting, Mitch got up and shared how thankful he was for how he and his family had been welcomed at our church. Mitch has special needs as do four of his five children. Though their family has always attended church, their children haven’t always felt enthusiastically welcomed.
Mitch concluded, “I’m proud to be a misfit, because that means I fit in here.” His 13-year-old daughter Gracie, leaning on his shoulder, pointed at herself and beamed, “Me too! I’m a misfit too!”
Last month we commissioned Mitch and his wife Erin as shepherds to lead one of our house churches. They chose as the name of their house church, “House of Misfits.”
If you’re free on a Tuesday evening, they’d love for you to drop in. If you, like me, are a misfit, you’ll fit right in.
- When have you felt like a misfit?
- Who has made you feel welcome when you felt like a misfit?
- Is your church “a church where misfits fit in”? Why or why not? How could you be more welcoming to misfits?