And as I pray, and as I ache for them to know Jesus, I am vaguely conscious that not only are we inhabiting parallel universes - me in the Christ-centered life(with all my flaws and failures in following it) and they in theirs, and not only are we at times talking past each other - but when I look at the church and they look at the church, we see radically different things.
An article today in Relevance examines a recent Barna Group survey of how the church is viewed (particularly by young unchurched Americans, but it also lists other group's reactions).
For me, it makes me want to lead New Hope to be even more outwardly focused and to try to infuse within the DNA of every NewHopian a keen understanding of the role of grace in the life of a follower of Jesus.
The questions the article ends with are valid, and I repost them here.
The church needs to stop being “in your face” and start focusing on service, sacrifice, humility, and grace.
Ask yourself these three questions:
1. Are we cultivating a heart for outsiders?
2. What kind of Jesus are we to outsiders?
3. How can we become know as true Christ followers?
My greatest fear in this life is that I would let my representation of Jesus be so twisted from His example of grace and truth that someone might turn away from a relationship with God because of me.