Church People are Weird. But I Love Them.

There are some weird people at church. If you’ve spent any amount of time in a church, you know this. Some of the “weird church people” types I have had the hardest time with over the years include:

  • The bro who always calls me “boss”
  • The overaggressive huggers who always bypass side-hugging for the full-on hug, and the under aggressive people who never know whether to hug you or shake your hand
  • The Baby Boomer who isn’t confident enough to dole out wisdom to Millennials like me
  • The know-it-all in life group who mansplains everything in a condescending manner
  • The overly pious person who makes you feel guilty for wanting to see a movie instead of holding a night of prayer
  • The external processor who takes up precious social energy by working out meandering thoughts aloud, ad nauseum
  • The church lady who manages to ask horribly offensive and personal questions under the guise of kind-hearted concern
  • The sweaty-handed people who lay their entire damp palm on your shoulder when they pray for you
  • The overly expressive lady who injects bursts of interpretive dance into worship, sometimes with flags like a sort of pentecostal drill team.
  • The person who frequently weeps or lays facedown on the church floor during worship, making you feel like an emotionless faux Christian
  • The FOMO church members who say they’ll be at every event but often flake out at the last minute because something better comes up
  • The far-too-happy person whose perpetual smile surely must mask something sinister
  • The person who you’ve shaken hands with 12 times but still can’t remember your name
  • The guy who thinks every discussion among men must involve meat, beer, cigars and/or Every Man’s Battle
  • The “I’m not your typical Christian!” churchgoer who goes out of their way to cuss and show you their tattoos
  • Anyone who talks about the joys of “just doing life together”

The list could go on. And I’m the first to admit that my quirks would probably show up on someone else’s list. The point is we should not expect our church, or any church, to be free of people who annoy us. And that’s a good thing.

The reality of God’s family is that people have different backgrounds and personalities and opinions. They will clash. It will be messy. It’s a huge challenge committing to a family like this, but it is not optional. Adopted sons and daughters of God can’t just throw in the towel and retreat to our “just like me” friend groups and homogeneous cliques. We must lean into the awkward conglomeration of people who comprise the church.

This post is an excerpt from my new book, Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community (Crossway, September 2017).