Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions Powerful Outreach Lessons from an Atheist Pastor

Powerful Outreach Lessons from an Atheist Pastor

A man is challenging the sky with light shine through the thick clouds in thick heavy grain-grunge concept

I recently heard about a pastor who renounced his faith. Apparently, he’s decided that God does not exist and that what he’s taught for so many years is not true. This saddens me.

This saddens me. But it doesn’t surprise me.

In fact, if you were to go back and listen to his sermons, you can hear the doubt in his seemingly rhetorical questions. You can feel him lob out ideas and thoughts that mirrored his internal struggle. I don’t know how long he lived on this island of doubt, but he obviously reached his personal tipping point.

His concerns are shared with countless others who are critics of faith and the church. Their claims:

There is a lack of power in most churches.
There is a lack of radical transformation in most believers.
There is a lack of unity in both.There is a lack of Kingdom-mindedness.
There is a lack of love, peace, gentleness, kindness, and mercy.
There is too much ignorance and apathy on issues of justice.

I certainly don’t want to cast stones at the church just for the sake of casting stones. She’s the Bride of Christ. There is always hope for the church. And I’m committed to fight for her. But if we were to take an honest look, we’d find that these accusations are more often true than false.

In fact, many of us, if not most of us, have seen them at different points and in different forms in our own lives.

There are those both inside and outside the church who simply look at the evidences (or lack thereof) and deduce that what we believe…must not be true.

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Brandon Hatmaker is pastor of Austin New Church (www.austinnewchurch.com), co-founder of Restore Communities (www.restorecommunities.org), and a missional strategist and ministry coach with Missio (www.missio.us). He is the author of "Barefoot Church: Serving the Least in a Consumer Culture" (Zondervan/Leadership Network/Exponential) and the upcoming "Barefoot Church Primer: An 8-week guide to Serving through Community" Published by Missio (Jan 2012, www.missio.us).