what message are you sending?

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. school of ministry and missions instructor. president of fistbump media, llc.

January 24, 2009

megaphoneA couple of years ago now when my wife and I lead the meetings for our young adults ministry in our home, we had one young man come visit our group for the first time. When I talked to him on the phone before he came over that night he made it clear to me that he was not a Christian, and really didn’t want to have anything to do with it. But…  he was making some changes in his life and was told about our group so he decided to check it out.

He came that night and our discussion for the evening was centered around Rob Bell’s BullhornNooma video. The idea of the lesson was centered around the perception that we (as Christians) give other people about Christianity. My first question to the group after the video stopped was, “what do people outside of the church think of people inside the church?” After a short silence from my regulars, this young man boldly stated, “WE hate them!” Wow…   did this young man just come to a Bible study in MY home, and make a statement about how much he hates everything that I stand for?

Amazingly then young man came back the following week, and God touched him! He surrendered his life to Jesus that night, exactly one week after making such a strong statement. This young man has an amazing testimony, and is still actively serving the Lord today. But I am not writing this to share his testimony. I am writing because of a troubling trend in society today where Christianity is loosing ground because Christians are not behaving the way that Jesus would have wanted us to. Check out this video about current perceptions of Christians…

[youtube 5m3Q2lDMRm0 Video :: Perceptions of Christianity]

So my question to you us, “what message are you sending the world about Christianity?” Do people see a 1 Corinthians 13 Christian? How about a Great Commandment or Great Commission Christian? Or do they see someone who causes division and strife? How about a judgemental or hypocritical Christian? And if you are reading this and thinking about how someone else needs to change, then you probably need to seriously check yourself (or, take the plank out of your own eye instead of complaining about the speck in someone else’s eye).

Here’s a better question…  How can we change the perception of Christianity? What types of things should we all be doing right now, today, to send the right message?

14 Comments

  1. Wickle

    I like to ask … Are we showing the fruits of the Spirit?

    Do we love the unsaved?

    Do we love them as much as we love ourselves?

    Do we treat others as we want to be treated?

    Do we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God?

    All too often, it looks like we hate the unsaved almost as much as we hate mercy, we're not walking humbly, and we'd scream bloody murder if we were treated the way we treat people outside our little communities.

    We can't even get along amongst ourselves, much less with the world we're trying to help. How often does the phrase “supposedly Christian” slip out in debates about politics, for example?

    Great post. This would be great for the Christian Carnival, if you're interested.

    Reply
  2. Wickle

    I like to ask … Are we showing the fruits of the Spirit?Do we love the unsaved?Do we love them as much as we love ourselves?Do we treat others as we want to be treated?Do we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God?All too often, it looks like we hate the unsaved almost as much as we hate mercy, we're not walking humbly, and we'd scream bloody murder if we were treated the way we treat people outside our little communities.We can't even get along amongst ourselves, much less with the world we're trying to help. How often does the phrase “supposedly Christian” slip out in debates about politics, for example?Great post. This would be great for the Christian Carnival, if you're interested.

    Reply
  3. Wickle

    I like to ask … Are we showing the fruits of the Spirit?

    Do we love the unsaved?

    Do we love them as much as we love ourselves?

    Do we treat others as we want to be treated?

    Do we do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God?

    All too often, it looks like we hate the unsaved almost as much as we hate mercy, we're not walking humbly, and we'd scream bloody murder if we were treated the way we treat people outside our little communities.

    We can't even get along amongst ourselves, much less with the world we're trying to help. How often does the phrase “supposedly Christian” slip out in debates about politics, for example?

    Great post. This would be great for the Christian Carnival, if you're interested.

    Reply
  4. BibleDude

    Wickle,
    You ask some great questions and make some great points. These are great questions that every question should be asking of themselves on a regular basis!

    I'd be happy to participate in the “Christian Carnival”… Let me know what I would need to do… Thanks!

    Reply
  5. BibleDude

    Wickle,
    You ask some great questions and make some great points. These are great questions that every question should be asking of themselves on a regular basis!

    I'd be happy to participate in the “Christian Carnival”… Let me know what I would need to do… Thanks!

    Reply
  6. RickD335

    Those who are in the public eye – large picture, such as televangelists, speakers, authors – as well as those in view on a smaller scale picture – would do well do make certain that what they say and what they do are congruent with the faith they profess. We are under a microscope, in view of a telescope, and many are set up to be in a rifle scope because of the false teaching, false preaching, and poor witness presented to the world. None are immune from failure in this regard – our opinions, when they are offered as backed up by the Word (but in reality we are offering only our own biases and trying to say that God blesses them) hurt not just public perception of Christianity, but hurt the bride and the bridegroom.

    It is my heart's desire to be a stepping-stone, and not a stumbling block – I can only live that way if I hunger and thirst for something more than what I came in the door with, and am willing to examine every action before I commit to it, every sentence before I speak it – every thought before it veers off-track. Some days I do that well. Some days I'm unaware of having done anything at all – but I never lose sight of the fact that I am surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

    My .02

    Reply
  7. BibleDude

    Wickle,You ask some great questions and make some great points. These are great questions that every question should be asking of themselves on a regular basis! I'd be happy to participate in the “Christian Carnival”… Let me know what I would need to do… Thanks!

    Reply
  8. RickD335

    Those who are in the public eye – large picture, such as televangelists, speakers, authors – as well as those in view on a smaller scale picture – would do well do make certain that what they say and what they do are congruent with the faith they profess. We are under a microscope, in view of a telescope, and many are set up to be in a rifle scope because of the false teaching, false preaching, and poor witness presented to the world. None are immune from failure in this regard – our opinions, when they are offered as backed up by the Word (but in reality we are offering only our own biases and trying to say that God blesses them) hurt not just public perception of Christianity, but hurt the bride and the bridegroom.It is my heart's desire to be a stepping-stone, and not a stumbling block – I can only live that way if I hunger and thirst for something more than what I came in the door with, and am willing to examine every action before I commit to it, every sentence before I speak it – every thought before it veers off-track. Some days I do that well. Some days I'm unaware of having done anything at all – but I never lose sight of the fact that I am surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.My .02

    Reply
  9. RickD335

    Those who are in the public eye – large picture, such as televangelists, speakers, authors – as well as those in view on a smaller scale picture – would do well do make certain that what they say and what they do are congruent with the faith they profess. We are under a microscope, in view of a telescope, and many are set up to be in a rifle scope because of the false teaching, false preaching, and poor witness presented to the world. None are immune from failure in this regard – our opinions, when they are offered as backed up by the Word (but in reality we are offering only our own biases and trying to say that God blesses them) hurt not just public perception of Christianity, but hurt the bride and the bridegroom.

    It is my heart's desire to be a stepping-stone, and not a stumbling block – I can only live that way if I hunger and thirst for something more than what I came in the door with, and am willing to examine every action before I commit to it, every sentence before I speak it – every thought before it veers off-track. Some days I do that well. Some days I'm unaware of having done anything at all – but I never lose sight of the fact that I am surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

    My .02

    Reply
  10. BibleDude

    Rick I'll actually give you three cents worth of credit for that one! LOL! Just kidding…
    You are right though, we are often at fault ourselves for getting ourselve caught in the rifle scope (meaning that we give unbelievers the ammunition to be critical of us)…

    Thanks for sharing! I only want to caution readers here to be careful of talking about what others need to do, and to focus more on what WE need to do ourselves.

    Reply
  11. BibleDude

    Rick I'll actually give you three cents worth of credit for that one! LOL! Just kidding…
    You are right though, we are often at fault ourselves for getting ourselve caught in the rifle scope (meaning that we give unbelievers the ammunition to be critical of us)…

    Thanks for sharing! I only want to caution readers here to be careful of talking about what others need to do, and to focus more on what WE need to do ourselves.

    Reply
  12. RickD335

    Those who are in the public eye – large picture, such as televangelists, speakers, authors – as well as those in view on a smaller scale picture – would do well do make certain that what they say and what they do are congruent with the faith they profess. We are under a microscope, in view of a telescope, and many are set up to be in a rifle scope because of the false teaching, false preaching, and poor witness presented to the world. None are immune from failure in this regard – our opinions, when they are offered as backed up by the Word (but in reality we are offering only our own biases and trying to say that God blesses them) hurt not just public perception of Christianity, but hurt the bride and the bridegroom.

    It is my heart's desire to be a stepping-stone, and not a stumbling block – I can only live that way if I hunger and thirst for something more than what I came in the door with, and am willing to examine every action before I commit to it, every sentence before I speak it – every thought before it veers off-track. Some days I do that well. Some days I'm unaware of having done anything at all – but I never lose sight of the fact that I am surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

    My .02

    Reply
  13. BibleDude

    Rick I'll actually give you three cents worth of credit for that one! LOL! Just kidding…You are right though, we are often at fault ourselves for getting ourselve caught in the rifle scope (meaning that we give unbelievers the ammunition to be critical of us)…Thanks for sharing! I only want to caution readers here to be careful of talking about what others need to do, and to focus more on what WE need to do ourselves.

    Reply
  14. BibleDude

    Rick I'll actually give you three cents worth of credit for that one! LOL! Just kidding…
    You are right though, we are often at fault ourselves for getting ourselve caught in the rifle scope (meaning that we give unbelievers the ammunition to be critical of us)…

    Thanks for sharing! I only want to caution readers here to be careful of talking about what others need to do, and to focus more on what WE need to do ourselves.

    Reply

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what message are you sending?

by Dan King time to read: 2 min
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