Why are most people OK with Jesus but not too hip about the church?
That’s a question that modern-day followers of Jesus need to wrestle with. Many pre-Christians and non-church-going folks are attracted to Jesus — but not his church.
In some cases, it stems from a lack of truly understanding Jesus. In my own life, as I’ve learned more about Jesus, it often challenges me to change something I’d rather hold onto. I’ve discovered that Jesus is far from a soft and cuddly action figure. He’s a cultural and moral risk-taker who challenges his followers to do the same.
That might be enough to unsettle a few of those who claim to like Jesus but not the church.
But that’s only part of the answer. The other part of the answer lies on the inside, not on the outside. It’s a call for the church to practice self-reflection.
It’s too easy to say we’re just misunderstood. That’s a defensive answer that will win no one over to Jesus. The Bible places the burden on the church to paint an authentic picture of what life is like within the faith community. If we are misunderstood, maybe it’s because we’ve allowed it to happen.
Being a part of a church should be noticeably different than attending a business meeting or hanging out at happy hour. There should be the unmistakable spiritual atmosphere that brings to live true priorities, true purpose, and true meaning.
In a culture that is shifting away from Christian influences, churches may be tempted to change
things politically or rely more on marketing to attract crowds.
Neither is inherently wrong. But when they become the dominant identifier of the church, perhaps we’ve lost our way.
Wouldn’t it be much better if a non-believer could say, “If Jesus is like that church, then sign me up!”