Church people


 

 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

 

Dear Friends:

I had the opportunity to talk over the past few days to a few folks that are not involved in any church— or any religion for that matter.  Without giving too much information about any of them, they all had the same reasons for not being involved in a church. It was not doubts about God, or questions about the Bible, or issues with the particular pastor or priest. In each case it was about a member of their family that had turned them off to the Christian faith and church attendance.

All of them talked about being talked “down to” by a parent, sibling or partner about how much they needed to go to church, but for each of them something was annoying about the manner in which they were being lectured or even cajoled into going to church.  In some ways the good intentions of the family members had the opposite effect.

Making a person feel that they are “wrong” or somehow inferior for not attending church will never cause our churches to grow. Neither will any appearance of aloofness, spiritual pride, or pious pity on the unchurched. What will make a difference is genuine interest in the other person—period.  It’s “pre-evangelism”, if you will, but until I can be sincerely kind and caring for the person regardless of their willingness to come to church or become a convert, I will never be much of a “fisher of men”.

I say all of this because the folks I talked to this past week are good people. In fact, they display more humility and character than some of us within  the church!  That’s part of the problem, perhaps.  They look at the lives and dealings of those that never miss a Sunday and perhaps conclude: “I am better than they are and I never go to church!”   And perhaps they are, but as C.S. Lewis would say, “You should have meet the same church members before  they came Christ and joined the church….”

Nonetheless, to many, I am the only “proof” that the Christian faith is real!  Some look at me and are inspired to increase their faith——but how many more think twice about being a disciple of Christ because of inconsistent life, my poor choices, my sins, my selfishness, etc.  Eyes are upon those of us who bear the name Christian always.  I am not able to maintain an act for long—-either He dwells within me and bears fruit or I am an artificial tree.  May I, and those at this camp, be well-rooted in Him and draw others to Him.

 

dean  barley,

Dean Barley

 


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