Chapter 4 in unChristian–titled “Get Saved”–processes through the outsiders’ perception that Christians are far more preoccupied with saving souls than caring for people.
- “Only one-third of young outsiders believe that Christians genuinely care about them (34 percent)…showing genuine interest in someone is hard to fake” ~Page 69
The path to genuine care for an individual is rooted in prayer for that person. A heart that cares like Christ can only be found in Him, and it necessitates that our hearts are being changed by Him. Prayer is the means by which Christ will give us His heart for an individual.
- “…most young people come to Christ because of people they know very well, usually in the context of “everyday” interaction.” ~Page 71
Based on their research, 71 percent of young believers responded that they came to faith through relationship, not event driven ministry. This should definitely shape our priority in resources as we consider effective ministry to this generation. Toward that end, missional community has been our method of choice.
- “…the vast majority of outsiders in this country, particularly among young generations, are actually de-churched individuals.” ~Page 74
I believe this statement has drastic implications for missiology, especially in the context of desiring to see a church planting movement in a western context. Many people who are adapting missionary principles from movements seen outside of western culture tend to ignore this very important piece of the puzzle. We simply do not live in a non-Christian country, but are progressively becoming de-churched. I firmly believe this must be taken into consideration when thinking through ministry strategy in our current context, and why I believe, in conjunction with the radical individualism of our culture, why church planting movements will require some different strategies before we see effective multiplication.
- “Our [the American church’s] enthusiasm for evangelism is not matched by our passion for and patience with discipleship and faith formation.” ~Page 77
Any college student can tell you this is absolutely true…many adults are willing to invest a little time and energy in an event focused on a campus, but where are the older generations who are willing and capable of walking through this time of life with them?
- “The middle ground between these extremes [not evangelizing and being “in your face”] suggests that we focus on cultivating relationships with people and developing environments that facilitate deep spiritual transformation.” ~Page 84
Missional Community is key toward realizing this middle ground. A gospel-centered small group of individuals cultivating a contextually appropriate environment for spiritual transformation to take place is essential in reaching campus and transforming it for the glory of God. Missional community is both internally focused and externally focused, not simply one or the other. Secondly, I believe a biblical understanding of the gospel that retains the simplicity of 1 Corinthians 15, and yet understands the complexity and depth of the gospel of the kingdom (click here for a good discussion of this idea), and sees the gospel not as ABC but the A through Z of Christian life, must be recovered in our ministry.
On the whole, this chapter calls us to a transformative faith, to which I give a hearty amen.