Why is this happening? We are changing from a Judeo-Christian culture to a Post-Christian culture. Dan read a quote from Reggie McNeal’s book “The Present Future” (who is from the Southern Baptist Convention) – acknowledgement of something changing in the world today.
We must see ourselves as missionaries vs. having an evangelism department or program (Judges 2.10, Acts 1.8)
We must becomes listeners of people and watches of culture so we know the people in our community, not just those in our Christian bubble and subculture.
So we are bemoaning the sins and fallenness of the world, but in fact, it’s clear that in culture there is a great respect for Jesus, for his teachings and for the things that he stood for. They are fed up with the Christian world/bubble/subculture.
Misperceptions and beliefs about the Church today that we must either: a) admit when we’re wrong and apologize and b) be ready to answer and do something about it to show it is not accurate.
Problem: If church and Christianity is an ‘organized religion’ with an agenda to control things and nothing like Jesus meant it to be.
Possible response: If people see Jesus as somebody who was loving the oppressed, out to help the powerless, but all they see and hear about from the outside, is power struggles, business, corporation, a struggle for power, etc. We had better be VERY serious about aligning ourselves with what Jesus really was about.
Problem: The church leaders who think they know all the answers and there is no room to question them.
Possible response: … say “I don’t know” more.
Problem: The church takes the Bible too literally and turned Jesus into what they want Him to be, not who he really was.
Possible response: We are seeing a drastic fallout from Christians who just don’t think – we leave up the thinking to the pastors of the church…
Problem: The church is male dominated and oppresses females.
Possible response: Can you honestly say, even if you have a viewpoint where you don’t ordain women, if I were to hear the people of your church talk about it – do they have a theological understanding of compassion and love and would I see females reading scripture, or would they simply be the ones who are the backup singers…
Problem: The church and Christians I know will only condemn me and will only accept me if I become like them and believe what they believe. Jesus was about love and acceptance.
Problem: The church is homophobic and sexually uptight – Jesus didn’t talk about sexual issues.
Problem: The church is hateful, prejudice and arrogant for thinking they have the exclusive way to God and everyone else doesn’t.
Problem: The church is nothing like I would want it to be, so I don’t see myself ever going. If I was ever to go, I would like it to be…