Saturday, October 20, 2007
When People Say No to Christianity
For some years I have spent considerable time looking at the culture and society around us. Occasionally I find a book of rare value to this study. The one I am suggesting to you today is just such a book. David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, in association with George Barna, have given us an eye-opening volume, worthy of reading more than once. The book is titled "UnChristian." That is what outsiders think of Christianity.
They perceive that Christians are hypocritical, too consumed with converting, too judgmental, sheltered, and anti-homosexual. Their perception comes from the baggage they carry after they had attended church for a while. They are skeptical and bored with Christianity. They believe that the Christianity they have seen is both shallow and unbelievable.
They regard Christianity as too much of an enterprise. Too many "feel good" things to make a lasting change in one's mindset and life. They have little regard for Christ when they make life-decisions, even though they believe religion (Christianity being just like all religions) has good teaching and values. There is much to learn from their perceptions, if we are intending to help them find a meaningful relationship with the Lord Jesus.
Any Boomer evangelist struggles with how to reach a postmodern generation (ages 16-29) that has a mindset far different from the one we learned. God no longer has a serious voice today, since many people are listening to their inner feelings as to what "feels right" to them.
One of the reasons logic doesn't work well today is that young adults are mosaic in their thinking rather than linear. The live in a contradictory world with multiple voices and feel the need to give attention to a bigger picture than mere Christianity.
The parable of the soils (Luke 8) has never been more true than it is today. For many the seed is already stolen. Others pass through Christianity till it demand something from them. Still others are too busy with life to give their faith the attention it deserves. They don't produce much.
I have taught the course in Church Growth at NSOP and will always be interested in the literature in this field. This book should be required reading.
Now, for the folks who have all the answers, help us all to discover how to approach the outsiders aged 16-29! If you have positive suggestions, please share them. If you are only wanting to slap the church, then re-write your post. I do not mind honest criticism, but I have little patience in people who only want to slap. The question is how to do we make things better. I have not seen any evidence at this point that imitating the enterprise denominations or community churches is working. Many of the back door outsiders went to churches like that.
let's think together,