Australian society is essentially un-churched. Most people don’t see church as part of their regular lifestyle anymore and other activities and pursuits have filled that void in our culture. On the way to church services on Sunday morning you will pass cafes filled with families enjoying their newspapers and lattes. They have no thought of or even awareness of church! We observe this as committed church members and wonder what could shift them, why aren’t they in church?
Un-churched people who don’t yet know Christ are not necessarily resistant but unable to see! Imagine walking up to a blind person and asking them to look at the sun setting. Silly thought I know but in 2 Cor 4:4 Paul says that the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see Christ. The biggest issue for the un-churched is not unbelief but blindness.
If the barrier is blindness then the gateway through must be light and the ability to see. In spiritual terms this is called revelation. Only light can help people see. No matter how much we want them to see, no amount of attempting to convince them will necessarily make any difference. A revelation of Christ is what is needed.
We all enter the kingdom of God through a revelation of Christ. Once this happens we then embark on a journey of growth in Christ.
We as believers need one primary focus: to lead others to Christ! This is often only understood in the narrow context of “witnessing” and “evangelism”. But the fact is we are called to live our lives in such a way that opens people’s eyes to the kingdom of God and doesn’t turn them in the other direction!
Bill Hybels believes that as a church we are meant to have a disproportionate focus on winning people to Christ because without this level of focus we wander too easily from our prime calling into less challenging and more religious activity without real kingdom growth!
So…we who have passed through this revelation gate and are now on the other side of this barrier beckoning people over into relationship with Christ and with His church need to be aware of what brings light to their eyes. The first reality is that we as believers represent Christ and the church…what we do, who we are and how we behave either opens the un- churched people’s eyes to Christ or shuts them! As we are the glory of God in our community and live life to its fullest we are representing heaven to them.
Iraneus said: “The glory of God is man fully alive”. This is the greatest “witness” there is and ultimately is what opens the eyes of those looking on. Turning the unchurched to the church is not an issue of changing their location but revealing Christ to them by how we live!