One reason people stay away from Christianity is not because they don’t know any Christians.
It’s often because they do.
Our actions and our words as followers of Jesus have the power to attract or repel people from Christianity.
The number of people who never go to church or follow Jesus keeps growing. And their thinking keeps changing too (I’ve outlined 15 characteristics of unchurched people here).
So what can we do about it?
Well, in addition to modeling humility, grace, truth, love and so many other things that describe the earliest Christ followers, we Christians can watch our words.
This post was inspired by a great piece by Scott Dannemiller recently profiled in the Huffington Post, in which Dannemiller urged Christians to stop saying “feeling blessed” whenever something good came their way. He makes a thoughtful, insightful argument around that.
I think there are three other things Christians should really stop saying.
1. Prayer works.
Should we really stop saying that prayer works?
Well, yes and no.
Most people who say prayer works these days really mean God did what I wanted him to do. As if prayer was a button to be pushed to release exactly what they wanted from the vending machine.
Prayer is not a button to be pushed; it’s a relationship to be pursued.
Prayer does ‘work,’ but it works very differently than we’d like. It still ‘works’:
When we can’t trace out any direct result from our prayer.
When the opposite of what we prayed for happens.
In those moments when we feel very distant from God.
When we bang down the door of heaven for years and are not sure anything is going on up there at all.
They didn’t get the job.
Their mom died of cancer.
Their child was born without a heartbeat.
They ended up in a car crash that left them permanently disabled.
Prayer doesn’t ‘work’ because I got what I wanted and they didn’t.