The culture has written off the church as out of date and irrelevant. Many are more familiar with what Christians are against than what they are for. If you asked someone on the street to describe a Christian they would probably say something like, “narrow minded, legalistic and intolerant.” It is likely that they don’t have anyone in their circle of friends that they would describe as a positive influence for the church.
Here is the kicker—they like Jesus, they just don’t like the church.
Obviously we in the church would say is that they are simply misinformed and they have poor examples around them. But if we are going to effectively share the words of life with them outside of the church we must first live the life of Jesus before them. They honestly don’t care what we say. They only care what we do. If they don’t see love, integrity, passion and a consistently honest person willing to be their friend we won’t get 30 seconds of their time to talk about faith matters.
This is not necessarily bad for us as followers of Christ because it gives us a chance to stand out from the crowd when we determine we will find our way back to God and become like Jesus. When we commit to let our actions speak louder than our words, when we invest in others without expecting return, when we passionately serve our community our friends and neighbors take note. I net it out for us in this simple way, we love God. We love people and we live out the love of Jesus.
I call this living SENT. It is a life lived for a higher purpose than self. Jesus said, as the Father has sent me so I send you. The SENT life is a life lived on mission, on purpose all the time. It is the Jesus life.
I'm speaking at a conference this month in Anderson, Indiana at the International Convention of the Church of God. In the conference I will share examples of how we can grow to be like Jesus and live SENT. Our friends must see an integration of our life Monday through Sunday. They are not opposed to passionate faith, in fact they respect it, but hypocrisy is toxic. So love God passionately.
And love people. It is the second great commandment. We are to love our neighbor as our self, right? Jesus' love through us reaches the least of these. Who can argue with selfless unconditional love. We see so little of it that it is a show stopper. Are we willing to love those unlike us? Are we willing to love across the “lines" that divide. Do you build walls or bridges? You will know it if those who don’t call themselves "Christ followers" want to be around you. If they don’t, it won’t matter what kind of witnessing plan you use. Love people like Jesus did. Those outside the church will notice.
Live out the love of Jesus. Be His hands and feet. Let people see Jesus in you—then the world will know we are His disciples.
This integrated way of sharing your faith is the only way we will reach our culture and especially the next generation of Americans. The conference will give examples and applications that will be simple and strategic. I will introduce diagrams that they will remember and use. If you want to share your faith with a skeptical world this conference is a must.
For more on finding your way back to Jesus and learning to be like Christ. Check out the Resources section of this blog and click on the book I just finished called, Backwards--Created to Live SENT.
Posted on Wed, June 13, 2012
by Gary Kendall