By Sam McKeen
It is no secret that the number of those in the United States who attend Sunday services has dropped over the years. This statistic is just one of many that point to a culture that has become increasingly disinterested in the church.
Why is it that so many people want nothing to do with a local church? Perhaps you have also noticed that telling someone you are Christian can often result in a negative response.
Why is this happening? What is it people are rejecting? Are they rejecting Jesus Christ, His Church, the Gospel or something else entirely? As Christians it is easy to want to shift the blame onto the culture or anything that removes the responsibility from us. We don’t like to take personal responsibility for what could be, in fact, our fault.
Consider this…could it be that the church is guilty of false advertising?
Think about the message we proclaim about how people’s lives will change when they come to Christ. We communicate that a Christian is to be selfless, sacrificial, humble, compassionate and loving. But are those the primary characteristics that people observe when they are exposed to those who claim to be Christians? We must ask ourselves, “Are we truly living transformed lives that are empowered by the Holy Spirit?” Lives that display the grace and compassion of our great God? Do our lives follow the example of Christ in how we act and communicate? Are we “Christ like” towards those that come into contact with us?
If our lives don’t look much different than those outside the church, why would we expect them to be interested or intrigued by the message we proclaim? If they are not seeing the evidence of transformed lives, why would we expect them to discover and understand the message of the Gospel and the power that can transform their lives?
There are real needs all around us. There are opportunities everywhere to demonstrate Christ-likeness in tangible ways. Many people believe that there is a God. They would like to know more about Him, and the hope and love He offers that can transform their lives. Sadly, when they witness Christians saying one thing, but living differently, it confuses them. Or even worse, repels them.
If you are reading this and you are a Christian, let me urge you to remember your identity. You are in Christ. You are a part of His church. You are part of the family of God. You have been empowered and sent to proclaim the good news that brings salvation to all men. Your life should point people to your great God as they see the redemptive work He has done in your life.