Second Chances & the Power of Transformation

by | Jun 24, 2024 | Church Growth, Church Health | 2 comments

Let’s be real: we all think our churches are friendly places, right? We preach second chances and celebrate redemption stories. But here’s the honest question: Does that translate into how we actually treat people? Does walking through the doors feel like a genuine welcome, especially for folks with a past that might raise eyebrows? Sometimes, the message of “all are welcome” might not be the message we actually project.

We’ve all made mistakes, right? Maybe it was a bad decision in your teens, a stumble somewhere along the way, or something you’re just not proud of. The truth is, none of us are perfect. That’s the human condition.

So, here’s the challenge:


We all believe in second chances. Redemption is practically a church anthem, right? But let’s be honest, sometimes that message doesn’t quite translate into the real world. Have you ever met someone new at church, someone maybe a little hesitant, and wondered if they felt that same warmth we all take for granted? Because the truth is, for some folks with a past, the church can feel a little…closed off.

So how can we, as church planters, build a community that receives people where they are – in whatever condition that may be? A place where people with challenging pasts can find acceptance, support, and, most importantly, a chance to grow?

Here are a few ideas to get us started:


  • Open the Door Wide:

This might sound obvious, but it all starts with creating a welcoming atmosphere. A smile, a handshake, a genuine “Hi, I’m glad you’re here!” can go a long way.

  • Grace Over Gossip:

Let’s be honest: church can sometimes feel like high school all over again. But we’re called to something bigger than rumors and judgment. If you hear someone talking negatively about another member, shut it down with kindness.

  • Focus on the Future:

We all have a past, but that doesn’t define us. Instead of dwelling on mistakes, let’s celebrate the journey of transformation. How is God using that person’s past experiences to make them a stronger, more compassionate believer today?

  • Celebrate Second Chances:

The Bible is full of stories of redemption. From the prodigal son to the woman at the well, God’s love extends to everyone, no matter their past. Let’s highlight these stories and celebrate the fact that God is in the business of making all things new.

Building a truly inclusive church family isn’t always easy. But when we extend grace, offer support, and celebrate the transforming power of God’s love, we create a place where everyone – yes, everyone – can feel welcome and experience the life-changing power of faith.

Now, this is just the start of the conversation. What are your thoughts? How can we create churches where everyone feels like they truly belong? Share your ideas in the comments below!

Read more blog posts by Jeff Hoglen

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