My friend Kevin Brown, pastor of the Perfecting Church writes a fantastic piece called Put The Rocks Down! I wanted to share a few lines from it here to whet your appetite:
“In the U.S.A eight out of ten people describe themselves as Christian but less than half of those people attend church. It’s not due to a shortage of churches, there’s an estimated 300,000 churches in our country. To put that number in context, there are only 31,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the whole world and you know how quickly we can get to a Mickey D’s drive-thru! So what’s the issue? Why do people who call themselves Christian avoid attending church? Why have they left the church? . . . In too many cases we have lost the most defining part of Jesus’ ministry – LOVE . . .
Jesus knew people were sin sick. He didn’t diagnose and judge everyone He came into contact with. He entered into relationship with them and restored them . . .Sadly people don’t know us for what the religious leaders knew Jesus for – responding and acting in love, mercy and forgiveness. Too often we are the ones with the rocks in our hands. Although we teach love, mercy and forgiveness, too often in practice we are the most judgmental, critical, divided, prejudiced and emotionally abusive people. Jesus demonstrated and taught a lifestyle that reflected another Kingdom, another way. He spent very little time judging what the sinners did (except for the religious leaders: Mt. 15:2-3, Mt. 23:27-28, Jn. 8:42-47) and quite a bit of time eating, talking, and spending time with sinners, showing them the Kingdom and how to relate to God.
When I talk to people who are turned off by church it’s almost always the same response. They’ve had a very negative experience with church people and church politics or they are working on getting their lives together so they can be accepted in our environment. Get their lives together so they can be accepted! We’ve got to get back to the message of the Kingdom”