Yesterday, I left off talking about people who are curious about Christ but don’t come to church. It leads me to this conclusion: Just because people aren’t being fed, doesn’t mean that they aren’t hungry. Here’s another statistic from Barna Group: 73 percent of Americans identify as Christians, but only 31 percent attend church at least once a month.
And why are people avoiding church? Well, from personal experience it has something to do with the way we have been presenting the gospel, especially to my generation. And this is important to learn. Because I can tell you all about how we need to be available to present the Gospel, but if we present it the wrong way, people will be turned off to us and what we have to say. I’m not saying we need to drag people to church. We can invite them, but people need more than a church. They need us.
David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons of The Barna Group brought together three years of research that discusses what people on the outside really think of Christians, and why. The overwhelming result was that Christians are in a bad light; and for being “the light of the world,” that’s not good news. How are we to go about being the light and hope of the world? They said: “To rebuild our lives and restore our nation, we have to recover love and concern for others” (UnChristian, Kinnaman and Lyons 2007, 219).
It’s a lot like what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13, isn’t it?
If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
In his book, “Embodying Our Faith,” author Tim Morey expresses how he came back to the faith after having left for five years. He said, “Of the things God used in putting me back together, none had as much impact as the amazing community of believers that embraced me.”
So then, how do we go about doing this? We’ll answer that tomorrow.