“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.
Whenever you make a determination to accept everyone you will be accused of being an enemy of God. However, Jesus shows us how to be loving and accepting without ignoring the claims of God. He provides the model for how to do church.
Acceptance, Forgiveness and Love
The goal is to preach the Gospel in such a way that our proclamation and practices don’t exclude those who are looking for Jesus. The greatest religious fence destroyer was Jesus Himself (just ask the Pharisees). He was able to proclaim the truth and welcome everyone who came to Him. That is what the church is to be about.