Christians need to wake up and start realizing that not only is this not a Christian Nation, we are quickly becoming the minority in a sea of unbelievers.
The Pew Research Report released this week reveals that only 4 out of 10 Millenials [those in their 20’s and 30’s] say that religion is important to their daily life. This means one thing: We are missionaries to American culture, like it or not.
A big part of why younger people are moving away from faith has to do, in part, with how Christians have communicated the Gospel in the last few decades. We’ve emphasized membership to an organization rather than behaviors that reflect the character of Christ. We’ve focused more on what we hate, forgetting that our mission was about love. We’ve been so consumed with being right that we’ve obliterated the very people we were supposed to embrace as Jesus did.
Now it’s time to rethink all of that. It’s time to repent and turn ourselves around.
Can we apologize for our insensitivity? Can we ask forgiveness of those we’ve condemned? Can we roll up our sleeves and get busy loving the lost, feeding the poor and clothing the naked? Can we work together to put the extravagant love of Jesus on display to a world that is, by now, fully convinced must simply not exist?
I believe it’s time. Someone needs to hit the reset button. We’ve got to abandon our old way of doing church and return to the feet of Jesus. We need to forget all we thought we knew and confess that it doesn’t work anymore – if it ever did at all.
Some people, like my friend Jonathan Grubbs, are starting to gather with people in their community who just want to talk about Jesus. Others, like my friend Scott Overpeck, have decided to go down to a local laundry mat to spend time getting to know a few low-income families and immigrant children who just need to make a friend who looks like Jesus. Still others have taken the time to share food and fellowship with dozens of people who live in a motel and bring the Church to them.
Honestly, the old "raise your hand if you don't want to burn in hell forever" script is part of the reason why so many young people are not interested in Jesus today.
Instead of trying to get young people to join a church, or to join a religious organization, we need to give them Jesus - just Jesus - and allow the Holy Spirit to do the rest.
Start simple. Share what you have. Paul never started things out with the Deity of Christ, or Escaping from Hell. What he talked about was "the unsearchable riches of Christ".
Most of all, we need to learn how to love people for who they are and where they are right now. Our love and acceptance of people shouldn't be conditional upon whether or not they agree with us on anything.
The Church not only has to change Her tactics, She also needs to change Her way of thinking. Like Jesus said, "Repent!" [Or “Metanoia”, which means to "think differently"].
One beautiful thing I’ve been experiencing as I’ve been leading these “Jesus Without Religion (Or Politics)” meetings is that I’m being transformed too. Through the process of meeting people where they are, and listening to their stories, Jesus is changing me, and changing them, all at the same time.
That’s probably one of the most important truths that the Church in America has forgotten; the idea that we need transformation as much anyone else does.
We can’t convince anyone else that they need Jesus if we are not also one hundred percent convinced that we need Jesus, too.
We are "Followers of Jesus" who put His teachings and example above everything else. For us, it's not about establishing Christian power structures. It’s about discovering the astounding love of Jesus in our own lives, and sharing that same incredible love with others around us.
We are strangers and aliens here. This country is not ours. It is not our culture. But if we begin to follow Jesus and if we allow Him to lead the way, then there is a very good chance that the Kingdom of God will break into this place and transform every single one of us from the inside out, one person at a time.
What’s stopping us? Only ourselves.
Someone hit that reset button, please.