Let’s Talk Authenticity
There are many people who have lost confidence in the church because of the abuses and misuses of a few. These days every shortcoming in the church of Christ is spread out over the media to such a degree that, to the outsider, it makes all of us look corrupt. There is a cynicism towards the church today that causes many people to turn us off before we ever get a chance to let them know how wonderful Christ is. I believe that anyone who has the opportunity to see Jesus as He really is will want Him. He is that wonderful. He is that loving and kind. The problem is that there is a distorted portrait of Christ out there that causes people to push away. This explains why conventional modes of outreach that were effective in days gone by are no longer effective today. When you mention Christ or the church, people in our society immediately think of a fallen evangelist or the latest scandal in the church world. If they cannot trust the preacher with their money or the priest with their children, why should they listen when we try to share life with them? The truth of the matter is the day of hard sell, cold turkey evangelism may be coming to a close. The best way to get people to listen to us may be by developing a relationship with them. The key is trust. We can only influence people if there is a bond of trust in place. Trust can best be developed through relationship. Relationships can only happen as we are connected with each other. It is the relationship that builds the bridge of trust. Our society as a whole is so sick and tired of the “phony baloney” religion they see all around them. Quite frankly, so am I. People are looking for something real. As they develop a relationship with authentic believers and get to know them, they will become exposed to genuine Christianity. They will realize that Christians are real people just like they are, not perfect people, real people with real issues. They will see how God helps the believer with those issues. They will see the difference Christ makes in a real persons life. May God help us to develop the kind of authentic relationships that will empower us to influence our world for Christ.