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Christians Can Be Jerks, but They Don’t Need to Be

3. We let our agenda be “conversion” over love.

I want to be careful in how I say this, because I am not at all undermining Jesus’ command in the Great Commission. But sometimes we focus on converting people instead of loving them, and that’s where I think we are disliked the most.

I’ve heard people on the receiving end of evangelism compare it to your experience at a used car lot. Someone who doesn’t know you is trying to sell you something—something you’re not sure you want in the first place.

While evangelism is part of our job, and the Great Commission is something we should be working to fulfill, we should be doing it a whole lot more like Jesus did it—through love.

The people Jesus was harshest with were the people who claimed to know him—religious people who were missing the point altogether. Love was always the point, and love is what Jesus showed to the people who didn’t know him, the people whose lives were changed most radically.

We’d find our audience much more receptive, and ourselves much more likable, if we focused on making disciples through love instead of through apologetics.

Being a Christian is a hard balance to walk. 

We want to be true to our beliefs no matter what—even if that comes at the price of not being liked for them. But often I think the opinions of those outside the church can be used as a spotlight, highlighting places in us where we’re missing the mark or off from where Jesus wanted us to be.

Let’s not compromise ourselves for the sake of popularity, but rather let’s respect the feedback we’re being given and use it to take a good hard look at ourselves and the way we’re coming across. We’ll be better for it.  

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justinlathrop@churchleaders.com'
With over a dozen years of local church ministry Justin has spent the last several years starting business' and ministries that partner with pastors and churches to advance the Kingdom. He is the founder of Helpstaff.me (now Vanderbloemen Search), Oaks School of Leadership, and MinistryCoach.tv all while staying involved in the local church. Justin is obsessed with connecting people to people and lives his life daily to make the world a smaller place. He now serves as a consultant in the area of strategic relations predominately working with the Assemblies of God, helping to build bridges with people and ministries to more effectively reach more people. He blogs regularly about what he has learned from making connection at www.justinlathrop.com.