“I like Jesus but I don’t want anything to do with the church!” That is a frequent mantra of young people today. Almost everybody you talk to can share a bad experience they had with the church. If you do word association with the term “church” you will probably get responses like, “judgmental,” “critical,” “condescending,” “out of touch,” “insignificant,” and “old fashioned.” This is hard to hear for those of us who have always loved the church. But we should pay attention. We are doing something wrong. The church has a message of acceptance, forgiveness, and love but it is not being heard.
This book is not a how to repair the church book. It is more like a journal. It is an honest look at what is going on with the church and how some are seeking ways to allow the church to be a place of grace. It is about putting Christ at the center without delineating a circumference.
If you are a church leader, this book will probably make you uncomfortable. If you have turned your back on the church, this book might give you hope once again. If you are interested in joining the conversation about how to be the church this book will be a good place to begin.
Terry Austin has experienced life from a variety of perspectives. He has been in a wheelchair his entire life, husband and father of three sons, pastor and Christian church consultant, author of numerous works, and a book publisher. He is seldom confused with someone who looks at life in a typical fashion. His insights and thoughts will entertain, challange, and inspire.
Many churches are not accessible to people because they do not fit the profile necessary to be accepted. When we are more concerned with protecting ourselves, our families, and our stuff than we are about others, we will build a fence around our churches to make us feel safe. This is why many people do not attend your church.
Acceptance, Forgiveness and Love
Churches have built fences to keep people out based on lifestyle, belief, ethnicity, politics, race, and past sins. Virtually anything that you can use to classify a person can be, and has been, used as a fence to keep people away from Jesus. We want church to be comfortable so we find ways to keep out the people who make us uncomfortable.