We don't have to dislike Christians in order to reach those who do not follow Christ.
I know this isn’t very trendy or culturally relevant or even missional for a pastor to admit, but I like Christians.
I really do.
I am ashamed to admit it, but Christians are some of my favorite people.
Now, there are definitely Christians I’m not too fond of, and Christians certainly have their flaws and blind spots, but as a tribe I feel a lot of affinity for them.
Part of this is because I was raised by Christians around Christians. And while they probably didn’t do it right, most of them really loved Jesus.
They did things that were culturally insensitive and created rules that were downright silly (we could watch TV but not go to movies; we could play Rook but not poker), but at the end of the day, they had the same question I struggle with: How do I live out the Gospel in the context of my generation?
Don’t get me wrong, I like non-Christians as well, and I understand the need to spend significant time getting to know them.
Where I struggle is the statement I hear from pastors: “I’d rather be with non-Christians than Christians. At least they’re not pretending to be something they’re not.” That hasn’t been my experience. I have found non-Christians to be at least as arrogant, hypocritical and shallow as Christians—they just use Jesus’ name in a different context.
Here’s my point, and I do have one: I don’t think we have to dislike Christians in order to reach those who do not follow Christ.
In fact, Jesus said one of the most attractive things about his followers is the love they have for one another.
And Jesus seemed to really enjoy hanging around Christ-followers. (That’s an attempt at humor. Forgive me if it’s corny—everyone knows Christians aren’t funny.)
I think a church can focus on helping Christians grow in their faith AND be a missional beacon in their community. And I think it’s OK once in a while to have a gathering where Christians enjoy being Christians with Christians. That’s kind of what happened in the upper room in Acts 2, isn’t it?
So there you have it: I’m a Christian lover. Stone me.