[amazonify]0310245907[/amazonify]Here is another book that may help you to get inside the mind of the people you are trying to reach. Here is what one reviewer said at amazon.com
Everyone who takes the Christian faith seriously should read this book and be prepared to do some sober reflection. Whether a pastor, youth worker, elder, deacon, lay leader, or church member – those who take Dan Kimball’s book to heart may very well need to make some significant changes in their approach to outreach and evangelism.
In They Like Jesus But Not The Church, Dan Kimball first points out the convicting and humbling truth that the longer one is a Christian, the less likely one is to have significant friendships with those who are not Christian. Instead, most Christians today find their lives consumed with church-related activities – and those whose primary jobs are ministry-related are often the worst offenders. How can anyone know what the needs of the unchurched are unless they are involved in trusting relationships with them?
The church in America has become nearly irrelevant to most 20- and 30-somethings. Yet those who follow Jesus rarely venture outside our cozy Christian comfort zones to learn why. Unless individual Christians are actively engaged in open and trusting relationships with non-Christians (without a conversion agenda), the life-changing gospel message won’t effectively be spread merely by changing our worship service structure, format, or atmosphere. Furthermore, most Christians tend to compound the problem by generally taking one of two approaches to evangelism: either we see every non-Christian as a potential target, and if we spend any time with them at all the goal is to “seal the deal;” or we isolate our faith from our everyday lives and generally avoid faith- or church-related conversations with anyone other than our church friends.
One of the biggest strengths of this book are the voices of many people (most in their 20s and 30s) with whom Dan Kimball has spent hours in conversation. He has developed trusting relationships and most importantly has really listened to where they’re coming from when they talk about Jesus, the church, and Christians. Dan’s goal was not to convert them, but to hear them. And likely, in doing so, he began to remove some of the stereotypes about Christians and the church that they might have held.
It is surprising and refreshing to learn of the positive and often even accurate views many people outside the church have about Jesus. In general, they deeply respect him and his teachings. But they see the church as very un-Christlike, and the church must not ignore their perceptions and feelings. Whether or not their ideas about the church being homophobic, male-dominated, judgmental and negative, or having a political agenda are true of all churches or any single church, the reality is that these perceptions are a significant barrier to trust in the church and acceptance of Christianity.
Dan does not compromise his orthodox beliefs as he interacts and engages with the people and the issues, and neither does he advocate that any church or individual compromise. But he is willing to ask difficult questions – questions that any serious Christian should consider. At the end of each chapter are excellent discussion questions which challenge and provoke thought about specific issues, about the reader’s own attitudes and perceptions, and about ways the reader might take action.
This book has deeply challenged me, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is serious about our great commission to make disciples out of all nations. They Like Jesus But Not The Church is a reminder to me that God is indeed working in the world, and that I am called to be in relationship with people at all points in their journey of faith, doing what I can to help point the way to Jesus, yet trusting that each person is ultimately in God’s hands.