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Hey, Jimmy Dooley Here!

Do you ever wonder why there are so many empty churches today? Or maybe even why when people hear about Christianity they seem so turned off by it? I do, I think about these things all the time. Why is it you can go by a school play or bingo event & see the parking overflowing & then go by a church & see 10 cars?

As I have studied this very much over the last few years, I’m starting to understand it & see more clearly why this is. Isn’t it true that people want to be apart of something exciting, welcoming, rewarding & feeling that they are loved & accepted while they are there? I think so, so my question is, when people who are on the outside looking in at Christians & churches what are they really seeing? I really started trying to think this way, as someone who doesn’t know about the religious jargon, & all the churchy stuff, just someone who’s showing up to church for the first time trying to see what it’s all about. Thinking from that perspective made some things really clear to me, let me share just a few examples with you to prove my point.

Not long ago we sang at a church on a Sunday morning, people came dragging in like it was almost punishment for them to be there. I could hear someone ask how have you been, the answer was followed by all kinds of negativity & complaining, & it seemed as if every conversation was close to being that way by all the people there. No one was friendly or welcoming, they didn’t say hi to my wife or I, just kind of looked at us like, “what are you doing here?” Next Sunday school started where they talked more about politics than the Bible, which they were very passionate about, & got excited, angry & controversial about politics, but at least they seemed into what they were talking about. During the church service it was more than boring, no life in the preacher, the singers, or the church members at all. No one smiled, no one said amen, no one clapped, people staring at their watches the whole time. At the end the pastor asked if anyone was glad to be a Christian would you please stand up, out of about 65 people 1 lady stood up. So he asked again, anyone who is glad to be a Christian today would you please stand up, maybe 2 more people stood up, everyone else looked around like let’s get this over with. The pastor had to practically beg the people to stand up showing they were glad to be a Christian & still several people, who said they were Christians, never stood up. Wow! I couldn’t believe it, well actually I could because I see this stuff all the time, it’s not uncommon, there are more churches like this than unlike it. What if someone was visiting who was thinking about becoming a Christian, they must have thought, being a Christian must be the most miserable thing in the world according to these people.

Let me give you another example, last year the theme of our concerts was “Be The Change” at the end of the concert I would ask a few questions to the people. I was really excited about this them when we first started the tour because I felt like it was really going to inspire people to step out for God & do something to make a difference. So the first concert I asked the question, “how many here can say there has been a change in my life, because I have accepted Christ & He changed me my heart?” Most of the hands there would go up at that part probably over 90%. The I would ask this, “how many of you people today would have a desire to say Lord would you use me to make a change in the lives of others, my family, friends, co-workers? I’m concerned about helping to reach hurting & lost people & God I want you to use me to reach others for you, would you please raise your hand if you want God to use you to reach others for Him?” I was completely floored by the response, I expected most of the people, like at least maybe 70%, to raise their hand saying, “yes I want to do God’s will in my life” but that was definitely not the case it was like maybe 10%, probably less than that of people who first claimed they were Christians, that said they wanted God to use them to reach others. I was stunned, I thought must have just been this church or event, it probably won’t be like that again. To my disappointment that seemed to be the response I got at the majority of the places I asked this question to. I started the tour excited, I ended it discouraged & frustrated. What happened? Why is it you go to a sporting event or concert, people stand on there feet for 3 hours & just can’t get enough, & at churches people get up & leave if you go past one hour? What are we conveying as Christians? Are we showing people that God sets us free, & fills our life with happiness & joy? Or does it look more like we are in bondage, mad all the time, people who don’t enjoy life?

I often watch the passion people have for different organizations or causes they are fighting for, they have fire in their eyes, they are excited about what’s going on, they believe so much in what they are doing, & then I see things like what I have shared here about the “church world” today & my heart breaks. Where has our passion for Jesus went? Have we forgotten where God brought us from? I don’t ever want someone to watch me & say man being a Christian looks like no fun, I don’t want what he’s got. No I want my life to be infectious with God’s goodness so when people see me they say, I want they same joy & happiness in my life that he’s experiencing through Christ! If we ever want to reach the world we’ve got a lot of work to do ourselves first. I challenge you to watch what’s going on from the perspective of an outsider & ask yourself, is this something I would want to be a part of? Unfortunately I can see why some people don’t want to go to some of these churches, we’ve got to create something worth coming to first. Let’s do our best to represent Christ in a better way & I think we’ll be surprised how many more people will want to know more about this Jesus that we‘re living for.
 
Feel free to leave feedback & comments I love hearing from you all!

God Bless
Jimmy
Jimmy Dooley Ministries

Comments

April 07, 2011 @09:24 am Come to our church. Say this stuff and see the response. God love ya....you and your wife could come to Fla., right? Hillside Community Baptist Church, Brooksville, Fla lori
April 07, 2011 @01:11 am Hey Bro...good insight into where the church is today. We were discussing this today...the lack of hunger among God's people. It's so frustrating and hard to understand. We continue to pray, challenge and love folks just the same. Don Bishop
April 06, 2011 @04:18 pm Jimmy this is a sad testimony but true, especially of American Christianity. I could write much on this, and I have preached on this as well. Here is a video by a great man of God, Paul Washer. It speaks of the sad state we are in today. We should be the happiest people on Earth but we focus too much on our circumstances and not enough on our relationship with Christ. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlaCzmYBpUQ Kris Theobald
April 06, 2011 @12:31 pm This came to mind too. Talks about the church's response to football, MTV, and even Oprah. Love this. http://www.stevenfurtick.com/video-blog/my-thoughts-on-oprah/ Josh Young
April 06, 2011 @10:54 am I'm with you 100%. It frustrates me when we as Christians become more about religion than Jesus. When that happens, it's no wonder people don't get fired up or want to come. It's funny because your post lines up perfectly with a series we're in the middle of at ACC. It's called Death By Love, and it is a seven week series where we're looking at each of the seven recorded things that Jesus said from the cross. Mike's message on March 20 really speaks to this. You ought to take a listen if you get a few minutes. http://bit.ly/h4IdPw Josh Young
April 06, 2011 @10:50 am I'm with you on your "be the change" lament. Most Christians still have a "what's in in for me" consumer attitude. Everyone needs to reach a point in their relationship with Christ where they realize that it's not about them, it's about God. Christianity isn't fire insurance, it's joining in God's plan to redeem the world. If we don't teach this clearly as church leaders, we shouldn't be surprised to see people treat the gospel as one more thing you check off a list. Honestly, that's not very compelling. I've never been excited about insurance. I could go on (and on). Or, just listen to my podcast at CadenceChurch.org, cause I talk about this quite a bit. ;) steve gunno
April 06, 2011 @10:49 am Great post! So what is the answer? I hope that it was not our church that acted this way! But if I have to ask that question then it could have been............. David
April 06, 2011 @09:09 am Jimmy I loved your message! When will Christians ever... just GET IT? It is NEVER about us... and it always about HIM! [JESUS] Sorry to say, I also have experienced some of those same churches, but I didn't stay very long there as well. You know God places the memebrs in the bdoy to please HIM. Not so that we can have our own little piece of Heaven down here on earth, or that we are in the so call "CLIQUE". Christianity is all about sevring others! Did we not learn that when we read about the "Last Supper" and Christ being humble serving his disciples? No it is NEVER about US as Christians! It has always been about who would be willing to deny themselves and pick up their cross and follow Jesus! Serving a LOST & Dying World to say that GOD is not mad at you - He loves you SO MUCH he died for you to save you from a terrible end of this mortal body that we walk around in everyday. Jimmy - "BE THAT CHANGE" Serve God with all your heart, Mind and Soul. All you need to be concerned about here on earth is to just do your BEST with the talents that God has gifted you with. Someday - you will hear the words - Well done, thou good and faithful servant! People when you serve others and place others before yourselves...then you grasp the concept of servant Evangelism. Once you see how you can impact the world in which you live in...it becomes infectious to others! People, even Christians will ask you... Why are smiling? I Peter 3:15 - 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: That is your chance to "BE THE CHANGE" in someone else's life. To simply share your faith and to give your testimony as to the power of a changed life through Jesus Christ. People do not want to hear about Christianity - They would prefer that you LIVE your life before them as, an example, demonstrating that JESUS DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE in your life! Just my opinion - I love reading and listening to your "heart" God Bless You Jimmy! Tom Werley
April 06, 2011 @09:02 am Jimmy-Wow...our sentiments exactly! You might be surprised (ha! not!) that we are looking for a new church. It's been horrible trying to find a new church...and we are strong christians! I pity nonbelievers who step foot in the doors of some of these places. Wow...it's no wonder people have zero interest in church. Very, very sobering. Awesome post! BTW-Micah says...Jimmy Dooley needs to meet my little brother. :) Pam
April 06, 2011 @07:06 am "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Mahatma Gandhi I keep this quote very close in my mind and yet when life's annoyances or inconveniences come the quote seems to be lost in file 601, rotting. I have conversed with myself about this same topic over and over again without any firm explanation. For example I was watching the UK/OSU March madness game and really whooping and hollering but my sentiment about Christ is usually contained to an amen. Praise is not natural, as humans we are, I believe, self-dependent-arrogant if you will in of our true state of sin. Without Christ(help) we are hopeless but do not recognize it because to do so solidifies the fact that we are incapable of being independent. I fail miserably in not complaining, my focus always turns from Christ on the cross to the cross thats burdening my life. It might be work, children, finances, an illness-anything that hinders my pursuit of what I believe will make me happy. A very Godly woman once told me that God is not so much concerned with your happiness as He is with your holiness. Some would think God callous for that but I believe, but have yet to grasp, that with holiness comes a happiness secure in the hope of what is not seen, the faith that moves mountains, and a love without condition. Thank you for the reminder: Philippians 2:14-16 (New King James Version) 14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Penny Jewell
April 06, 2011 @12:32 am Jimmy you hit the nail on the head.I see the same things all the time and wish it were different and don't get discouraged.You keepn inspireing at least the ones who can pull themselves out of their pew.The way is straight and narrow and few will make the trip.Annie and I say to you don't let it take your victory,Brother we love you and so does God,keep working for him !!!!!!!! Dave McCullough

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