Dan Kimball’s new book, They Like Jesus But Not the Church, is a must-read for pastors for one big reason: what Dan learned can be a spur for a more effective ministry. What did he learn?
That to reach his community he had to get out of his office more often. Look, I’m not trying to make any pastor feel guilty or ask pastors to shoulder yet one more load — unless, of course, this is what the pastor needs to learn. Dan tells his story in this book and he tells what he learned when he got out there, hung out at some coffee shops, and learned what the next generation was really asking.
How about it? How many are learning this lesson? What are some experiences you have about “getting out of the office”? What are some things you’ve done to help with being more personally missional? I know for my part it has always been easier to spend lunch with my colleagues; spending time with students, I must confess, has made a big impact on my life (and I hope students). Somewhere along the line my days at home starting being filled in with lunches with local pastors or those who wrote to ask to have lunch. It’s far easier to stay home — and I get more done — and isn’t that one of the problems?
Dan was in meetings or in his office studying for sermons. It dawned on him that he was with Christians all week long and that he had become increasingly distanced from his community. He had to break his Christian bubble by getting out. He had become a modern Jonah. So he did something about it. He got out. What he learned troubled him and it is why he wrote this book. Here’s what he learned about what those who “like Jesus but not the Church” say about the Church:
1. The church is an organized religion with a political agenda.
2. The church is judgmental and negative.
3. The church is dominated by males and oppresses females.
4. The church is homophobic.
5. The church arrogantly claims all other religions are wrong.
6. The church is full of fundamentalists who take the whole Bible literally.
He’s got story after story of folks he has met, folks he has opened up windows for, and folks how have found their way to Jesus (and the church). You might want to read this book to see how he sorts lots of these issues out and what the church can do to respond. He’s got an answer to each.
There aren’t many who can write a book like this from experience. Dan Kimball can. Read it.