Friday, June 6, 2008

Viewing People as Individuals, Not as Objects or Conquests (from "unChristian")


Considering Unchristian: What A New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity ...An Why It Matters Groundbreaking research from the Barna Group by Dave Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons




From pages 67 – 73:

Most [young outsiders] reject the idea that Christians show genuine interest in them as individuals. This was one of the largest gaps in our research: most Christians are convinced their efforts come across as genuine, but outsiders dispute that...

Only one-third of young outsiders believe that Christians genuinely care about them (34 percent). And most Christians are oblivious to these perceptions – 64 percent of Christians said they believe that outsiders would perceive their efforts as genuine. This is especially significant because Christians were very accurate in anticipating many of the negative perceptions of outsiders, but being perceived as insincere surprised believers. Showing genuine interest in someone is hard to fake...

Rather than being genuinely interested in people for their friendship, we often seem like spiritual headhunters...

The clear indication that is most young people come to Christ because of people they know very well, usually in the context of “everyday” interraction...

Moreover, such mass evangelism efforts are most effective with marginally churched adults, while outsiders are usually the ones who respond most negatively... If you create more barriers with outsiders because of your tactics, you have not been a good steward of the gospel. How we choose to share Christ is as important as our actually doing it...


From pages 77 – 79:

Only one out of seven outsiders describes Christianity as something that seems genuine and real. Just one-third believe that Christians show genuine interest in them. These are not perceptions derived in a vacuum or from seeing Christians negatively portrayed in the media. More outsiders have grown up around Christians: many have given the “Jesus thing” a thorough test drive; a majority have tried churches and found them desperately lacking relevance...

[B]ut the key point is that these individuals have spent an unusual amount of time studying and considering Christianity and coming to the conclusions they hold. Even though their viewpoint is not pro-Jesus, these individuals often display greater familiarity with Scripture than their Christian peers, a fact that gives them particular disdain for Christians who “ignorantly follow Christ.” Unfortunately, these outsiders are not entirely wrong about the paper-thin beliefs of many Christians.


From “unChristian
by Dave Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons
Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007