Originally published Friday, 14 March 2014.
Dear Impulsive Christian Communicator,
You’ve lost me.
When you chose to use your platform to jump onto a trend-bashing wagon.
You lost me.
When you used your words to tear down, give false information and to deny what God did in someone’s life.
You lost me.
When your words were angry and filled with half-truths.
You lost me.
And now, anything you say, I’m not listening.
Because, you lost me.
The past few weeks the Internet has been filled with controversy after controversy surrounding many churches and pastors.
We’ve called pastor’s cult leaders. We’ve denied the experience's people had with God. And we chose to use our words, filled with half-truth’s, to be part of some social media trending topic.
I’ve read many of the articles, tweets and Facebook comments. And I’ve lost a lot of respect for a few impulsive communicators.
I’m not the only one though and I don’t write this article today to represent myself. There’s an entire generation we [as the Church] are loosing due to our hotheaded religious rants.
A new generation isn’t coming up. It’s now.
And reaching this generation for God has never been more difficult than it is today. Because they are listening to very few of us.
Communicators, please hear my heart…
When controversy in a church rises I get your concerns, anger, questions and frustrations. But I also get how in the midst of church conflict we tend take our religious preferences and turn them into religious laws.
But when we do this, we potentially lose the ability to speak into today’s generation. Because this generation needs a safe place they can bring their views of Jesus and the Church to. If they are constantly met with an opposing force, they’ll stop talking about it.
Which is the worst thing that could happen.
I do believe God wants us all to be part of conversations surrounding the Church. Not hot-tempered debates. Not writing or sharing an article just to jump on a trending topic.
Here are three healthy conversations to consider having during a church controversy:
Conversation One: “Tell me what you’ve experienced.”
There’s nothing more frustrating than someone writing an article or crafting a social media status without getting the facts first-hand. Before we form our opinions about what's happening within a church, may we seek the facts from the right people.
We can also ask questions without denying the movement of God in someone’s life.
Conversation Two: “Help me understand why things are done this way.”
The bottom line with many church controversies is that things are being done in very different way than in previous generations. And sometimes when our deep historical roots of tradition are messed with, we can start to feel unsettled.
But Jesus isn’t a tradition, He’s a miracle. And who are we to deny the new miraculous ways He’s working in people through this generation?
We can have doubts without throwing rocks of disbelief.
Conversation Three: “Is it okay if I share my perspective with you?”
Are there things being done within church walls we can disagree with? Absolutely. But I’d also love to see a church that does this thing perfectly.
May we be very careful our perspective doesn't reflect a perfect church when we speak up on controversial issues.
And we can speak Truth into this generation without hate.
As communicators are we more concerned with being right and trendy or with being in conversation? It’s something to consider.
While today the waters of controversy might be still, there’s another storm brewing somewhere. When the waters rise, there will be much at stake.
Ask. Listen. Or deny. The conversation choice is ours.
“Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.” –Ephesians 4:3-6
I'd love to hear from you today. When you read an article or social media status bashing a pastor or a church, how do you respond?