There are some pastors who look at their pews on Sunday mornings and assume that the reason they are empty is because the vast majority of people today have rejected Jesus, as they believe much of this world is going straight to Hell. However, I believe that many who avoid church these days have actually accepted Jesus. They love Jesus and even want to follow Jesus. The problem is that they simply do not see Jesus in the church, and believe it is the church that is on the way to Hell.
I believe you can go to any main street in the heart of downtown of any city in America and ask people the following question: “What’s the first word that comes to your mind when you hear the word: “Jesus?”
People everywhere will respond: “loving,” “forgiving,” “compassionate,” “hospitable,” “selfless,” “sacrificial,” “humble, “radical.”
Then ask those same people: “What is the first word that comes to your mind when you hear the word: “Christian?”
They will respond: “mean,” “judgmental,” “insensitive,” “unwelcoming,” “selfish,” “self-centered,” “holier-than-thou,” “boring.”—words that describe the very antithesis of who Jesus is and who Jesus calls us to be as his disciples.
And sadly, those of us who are a part of the church know that there are many good reasons for these thoughts.
The church’s mission is to make disciples, to make followers of Jesus. How is that possible when many in the church are not following Jesus?
If the church wants thrive in these days…no, let me rephrase that… if the church wants to survive in these days…no, let me rephrase that once more… if the church these days wants to avoid going to Hell, then the church must answer Jesus’ radical call to be his disciples, to live as he lived, lovingly, graciously, compassionately, hospitably, selflessly, sacrificially, humbly and radically.