Several years ago, my wife and I decided to make one of the biggest decisions of our lives—we moved to the other side of the country to start a church.
Starting a church in San Diego has been one of our greatest privileges and greatest challenges. According to Barna Research, San Diego is the number ten most post-Christian city in America.
We realized this was true when one of our kids was invited to a birthday party on Sunday morning of one of the biggest days of the year for Christians—Easter!
Being a Christian or going to church isn’t a part of the culture where we live. It can be difficult when reaching people or starting a church. We have found a joy in the midst of it. When people show up at church or become a Christ follower, it’s because they really want what Jesus offers. It’s not what everyone else is doing or what’s popular but it is genuine. That is refreshing.
I’ve found three ways that open doors as I minister in a post-Christian culture. I hope they’ll encourage you.
No one else can be you. Sometimes we try so hard in tough to reach places that we start to lose our real identity. Never forget who you are in Christ. Be you because everyone else is taken. You are a masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10). God wants to use your journey to help someone take the next steps in knowing Christ. Some will laugh at you. Others will dismiss you as crazy or fanatical. When the culture is going one way, it is still a breath of fresh air when someone genuinely follows Christ. Don’t forget who you are—a child of the King.
Provide genuine community.
No matter what someone believes, real community is still attractive. Everyone is looking for a place to belong. There is no better place to experience a sense of belonging than with a local church, rubbing shoulders with God’s family. Provide an environment for people to belong before they believe.
Andy Stanley said, “People that were nothing like Jesus liked Jesus.” If all we do is attract people that think like us and believe like our particular cultural Christianity, are we really following Jesus? People nothing like Jesus desired to be in His presence. Provide a safe place for people to explore the claims of Christ. Constantly wave people home like the father running out to meet the wayward son in Luke 15. We are welcoming home lost sons and daughters!
Be a dealer of hope.
No matter where someone is on his or her spiritual journey one thing is true – everyone needs HOPE. We have the greatest hope of anyone in the world as Christ followers. Share it. Spread it. The Gospel is called GOOD NEWS for a reason. Someone has said “Man can live forty days without food, three days without water, eight minutes without air but only for one second without hope.” We all need hope.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. (Hebrews 6:19)
Provide an anchor of hope for people. In a post-Christian culture, Jesus may not be on the radar of someone’s mind but that doesn’t mean they aren’t on God’s mind. He is pursuing them. He can use you to reach them. Don’t give up. It may be difficult but it’s not impossible. Keep spreading hope through Jesus.