We are no longer in a generation where being confronted by “Churchy people” on Sundays is attractive, convicting or a game-changer for someone outside the Body of Christ.
Once upon a time, you still came to church if you had tattoos, but you covered them up.
If you were simply 3 days clean off a drug, you kept your mouth shut, your eyes down and you collected the atta-boys of people who were perceived as holier and cleaner than you.
Technically, it was equally the shame of the action (the desire to cover things up) and the desire to change (if you ignore your past long enough, it’ll disappear and you can have a fresh start, right?).
Recently, I struck up a conversation with a single father in town. We talked all things parenting (Praise ya, Jesus, for the gift of insightful yet ignorant empathy…) and all things trial. He laughed about no longer going out with the guys at night and I chided him that sleeping in was probably no longer in his vocabulary, either. He made it clear he could be a better dad. I reminded him his daughter was beautiful.
Then the enchantment ended as soon as I brought up God.
“You? Really? But…”
His eyes spoke the volumes his lips refused to mutter. You’re too nice to me to be a Christian.
The conversation quickly died down from there, but I was reminded of a Truth that broke my heart.
The days of opening the Church doors and ringing the steeple bell to strike curiousity in a person’s heart no longer exists. We’re no longer seen as a loving place to try out. We are us and they are them. End of discussion. Though that’s not necessarily accurate across the board… it’s a reality that’s getting harder to deny.
We’re playing our own game of ignore it and it will disappear.
So, I simply challenge those of you that claim Christ as your savior and Lord to own up to your redemption in every way. Whether your sin struggles are in the “acceptable” sins (gluttony, lying, gossiping) or the life-style temptations, be willing to let God use your experiences to reach out to someone who thinks they can’t come through those church doors without cleaning up first. Because that is quite simply a lie from the pit of hell.
They need to know it’s possible to be seen right where they’re at. Though that’s been a concept ever since Billy Graham was first given a podium, it’s becoming more urgent… and more an issue for the Church to address than it ever was for an independant evangelist. Outside of the comfortably-Christian communities, we are losing our impact on those who believe differently because we’re not willing to get down in the mud of life next to them and ask one simple thing:
I’ve been where you’re at. Wanna talk about it?