Renee and I had the opportunity to share Christ, one on one, with persons we met in transit in Nairobi, Kenya as well as Pretoria and Boksburg in South Africa. It was so wonderful to have the privilege to meet these people from different cultural backgrounds and see their receptivity to our message about Christ Jesus. However, it was quite interesting to note that the unsaved and the unchurched that we met in these cities, had very similar impressions of the Church and Christianity as some unsaved and unchurched persons we share Christ with in Trinidad and the US.
Although the concept of mega church has become very popular these days and celebrity pastors have basically become the face of Christianity today, we have come to realise that these two factors are seen as being entirely unattractive and very much repulsive to many unsaved and unchurched individuals. The folks we have met are completely turned off, by what they see as a commercially motivated religion. Further, these individuals, who do not know Christ, are not convinced that the "brand" of Christianity that is being proclaimed to the world, via mass media, is what they would really like to be a part of. The ostentatiousity that they see displayed in the lives of the most visible pastors, prohpets and apostles, have sufficiently testified against the simplicity and humility that characterises the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. They find that the message they are now exposed to is an entirely unattractive gospel. Additionally, the general consensus among those we have encountered is that the genuine love that should be typical in churches and among Christ's disciples seem to be virtually non-existent in churches today. Some of these persons see us, believers, as being selfish, self-centered and self absorbed hypocrites. This is reality to them, because of their personal interaction with Christians in their sphere of life.
Finally, although some people have come to the realisation that "there is a need to change my life," a major concern follouws. "What do I change to, when so many who profess Christ live such ungodly lives." While I, personally, may not agree with the picture of the church that has been described, we cannot entirely dismiss all of their comments. It does concern me that we, as the church, do not always display the virtues and values of Christ. I would agree that the post modern picture of Christianity has little resemblance to the Book of Acts' illustration of the Church. We must know, however, that the very existence of fake Christians and counterfiet Christianity, do suggest that there is authentic Christianity. A counterfiet cannot exist for which there is no real. An important question that can be asked in this regard is, "would one discard a batch of genuine hundred dollar bills because some counterfeit were identified among them?" Of course not! The counterfiet would be discarded and the genuine would be retained to be utilised accordingly.
Nonetheless, it is important for us to note, that our Christian testimony is under scrutiny by the ones we are supposed to reach. It is therefore incumbent on us, as believers in Christ Jesus, to truly display lives of authenticity. The Gospel message has to be more visible than it is verbal. When people accept faith in Christ, they are to be connected with a body of disciples, who are genuine and display true Christlikeness. There are people out there who are desirous of something real. They want to experience a genuine expression of Christianity, where love is more than a doctrine and Christ is more than a distant God. They want a Christianity that is more than an abstract religion. These are people who would appreciate being connected to a community of disciples, whose Christian witness is so compelling that they find almost irresistible, the call to Christ.
Renee and I encountered some of these folks and it has been our distinct honour to lead them to faith in Christ.