Willie Sutton, one of the world’s most prolific bank robbers, was reported to have answered a reporter’s question on why he robbed banks with the statement, “Because that’s where the money is.” While Willie never said that, his falsely attributed answer has become a cliche for a statement of the obvious – just like the reason we plant churches in motels. That’s where the people are.
Jesus demonstrated the obvious with his life. He spent his time with the unwanted, even dining with tax collectors and sinners, the people with whom most of society didn’t want to associate. Why? Because as he pointed out in Matthew 9:12, the healthy don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. Jesus went to where the people were.
Weekly motels are often places where people aren’t so much homeless as hopeless. While the men, women and children living in motels do have a roof over their heads, often that roof is temporary. They’ve been living on the streets and got together enough money to get a motel room for a stay. Or, they’re running out of money and a motel is their last stop before the streets. Or, in some cases, living in motels is all they’ve known. Often in this last category are families where three generations have only known a motel room as their home.
For many living in motels, if they believe in God, they think He is mad at them. Many have been to church and some even made a decision to accept Jesus years before, but through bad choices and tough circumstances they now find themselves in a motel, convinced that God is punishing them.
We plant churches in motels because God loves the people living in motels so much that He sent His own Son on a suicide mission to rescue them.
And, we’re convinced that He wants someone to tell them that.
We don’t believe that Jesus would try to bus them to some suburban church, to some building where everyone else gathers and then drives back to their comfortable home. We believe that He would say “wherever two or more are gathered there am I.”
We believe that He wants to meet them right where they are, and tell them that “this is my body that was broken for you, this is my blood that was shed for you. I love you that much.”
We plant churches in weekly motels because God wants to meet people there.
On average, in every motel church service, every week, one person makes a decision to accept Christ and another one makes a decision to recommit their life to Christ.
That’s why we plant churches in motels.