In response to Monday’s Daily Jot, many readers agreed that Christians and conservatives must reassert themselves in the national dialogue, but many are asking where and how. One Jot reader asked, “Besides writing our government and voting, what more can we do?” These are good questions. They are not easily answered because the “Church” over the past few decades focused itself inward with a mixture of a support group and country club mentality where in most cases relationship building outside of the four walls (or mega buildings) is not done, nor hardly encouraged. The “Church” has left America to itself and has become a self-improvement machine emphasizing emotional, self-indulgence and extra-biblical doctrines.
Now when it has become obvious that the American society is no longer following a respect for the Lord and the tenets of the Bible, the church infrastructure and focus must change in order to affect change. For too long, this “club” atmosphere at church has ignored the relational aspects of influence. It has also taught a “bud-lite” version of what it takes to be a Christian. Now, I know that many reading this will get all defensive about their churches and their pastors, but this is also part of the issue. We are more likely to defend, rather than question the approach because pastors and leadership have taught that you are not to question the pastor or the leadership.
What is it that Peter and the other apostles answered the high priest and said in Acts 4:29, “We ought to obey God rather than men”? Too much following of men these days and not enough following God as led by the Holy Spirit—just saying. Christians need to get outside the church, beyond the buildings and the parking lots and start making relationships with people that aren’t part of the club. We have to lead by the example of Christ, who did not jam religion down people’s throats, or try to force a brand of doctrinal morality upon people. He talked to them. He listened to them. He asked questions. He cared about how they felt, their condition in life, their physical and spiritual well-being. This is how one builds relationships and, in turn, influence.
What can we do? We have to show the love of Christ to others. In order to do that, we have to get outside the club and be intentional about our mission. The life of Christ was not about improving himself or the wild, crazy stuff that we humans do to make us feel better and to show how spiritual we are, but as he said in John 10:10, “The thief comes not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” The thief is out there and he is wreaking havoc. We have the answer in Christ. We speak with both our voices and our actions. It’s about relationships, heart to heart interaction, and leading by example. The changes we seek won’t happen overnight.