There was a time, many years ago, that I was able to wear a suit and tie to church. Please understand, it wasn’t to impress anyone, it was just that I enjoyed wearing those types of clothes. I totally had it nailed with the “Dress for Success” crowd. Years later I found myself in a bluejeans and t-shirt financial condition. It set me back a bit on how differently I was treated, not only in the outside world( I get that), but in the church as well. People spent a lot less time with me, and people no longer sought my advice on anything. There were still plenty of nice people, but it showed me an aspect of church folks that I didn’t care for. Eventually I got past all that, but I had developed a sensitivity for how church people treat those who look different. I was comfortable in church regardless of how others treat me, but what if it was the first church experience for someone? Would they ever come back? I doubt it, and I don’t blame them one bit. They will tell that story on how they tried religion once, but will never go back because of the judgment they received.
One day my wife and I were discussing how, again, someone else was shunned by others because of tattoos and attire. I made an off the cuff remark about how I would like to start The Ugly Church for folks that don’t fit the typical church model. Certainly not that these folks are ugly, just that they are rejected, even though they are really the type of people that Jesus had compassion and fellowship with. No one was too ugly for Jesus. I don’t just mean piercings, tattoos , and t-shirts, I mean folks that have made some really bad decisions in life and those who were victims of other peoples bad choices. They have been treated horribly by church people, in Jesus’ day and in ours. I say messed up people are loved by Jesus, friends of Jesus and deserve a place to worship Jesus without the Harper Valley PTA looking down their noses at them. That was the birth of The Ugly Church concept.
Well, another 5 years have passed and now I think its time to make that idea a reality. We’ve been really doing our homework on this subject. There are a lot of biker churches that are doing a terrific job, while traditional churches are failing miserably. Most biker churches really embody that Ugly Church idea. They know that you can’t clean up enough to come to Jesus, come to Jesus now, as you are, and He will make you clean. They are WAY ahead of me here and deserve a ton of respect for it. The name has evolved from The Ugly Church to The Salvage Yard, but the concept is the same.
I want to serve in a place that is ruled by the Word of God and some spiritual leaders encouraging and teaching people on their journey so they can move on to spread the love and good news of Jesus. That’s really how Jesus and a dozen Jewish guys changed the world. They didn’t dress pretty and hide behind 4 walls, they got out there and shared the love and hope that Jesus offered. John the Baptist just had to be a biker! You can’t be too ugly for me or Jesus. If you were hurt or mistreated by a church, you are loved here. If you were looked down on for your economic situation, you are loved here. If you listen to Christian metal, rap or rock, you are loved here. If you have tattoo’s, piercings, are biker trash, or trucker trash, you are loved here. No matter how dirty, unworthy or messed up that you think you are, Jesus loves you, and you are loved here. If you wear a suit and are among the pretty people looking for more than what you’ve been told, even you are loved here. All that’s required is that we treat each other with respect.
Friends, this is an ongoing process, and I’m bringing you along for the ride. I’ll share our successes and even our failures. We are getting a lot of our ideas from the home church movement. If you are interested in learning more, I highly recommend Starting A House Church by Larry Kreider & Floyd McClung or House To House by Larry Kreider. This won’t happen overnight, so I’d really like some input from you folks. We don’t want your money but we sure do need your prayers. Plenty more coming soon! Pray hard friends