Notes on "They Like Jesus but not the Church"
by Dan Kimball
Notes by Dwayne Phillips, August 2009
..Why I called several hundred Pastors "weaklings"
...I try to think like a missionary
...I study for the weekend sermon at a local coffee house
..To busy inside the church to know those outside the church
..Our world has changed whether we like it or not
..Please take a hard look at your church, even if it is a mega church
...Two-thirds of those who graduate from high school and stay in the
area end up leaving the church.
...Maybe it is three-fourths instead of two-thirds
..I'm not the only one
..What is Missional (one of many bullets)
...Being missional means that the church sees itself as being missionaries,
rather than having a missions department, and that we see ourselves
as missionaries RIGHT WHERE WE LIVE.
..A big point in this book is that in the 1950s the vast majority of
Americans knew of and had some respect for the church leaders in their
local community. They knew who to approach and where to go it they
had a big question.
..This is no longer the case. The majority of society doesn't know a
Christian personally as a Christian. Their perception of Christians and
Church comes from mass media. Ouch, we don't look too good, and
much of us don't look too good in person either.
..I am surprised by some of the poor grammar used throughout.
When quoting a person, sure you quote them no matter what they say,
but there are far too many grammar errors in the remainder of the
book. I am surprised that an editor didn't fix these.
.Part 1 - Why Emerging Generations are Changing
.Chapter 1 - I probably wouldn't like Christians if I weren't one
.No ###$% way you're a Pastor...Pastors are creepy!
.It's not just California
.Feeling sorry for Christians
..You're a Christian? Oh, too bad. Did you have a really bad childhood?
.Thinking like missionaries in a post-Christian world
..To them, Christianity isn't normal
..we need to act like missionaries do when they enter a different
culture...they observe and learn the culture
..do you know and interact with people in younger generations outside
of your church?
.Christians were once known as cannibalistic, atheistic, and incestuous
..and we have as many mis-perceptions about us today
.Today, Christians are known as scary, angry, judgmental, right-wing
finger-pointers with political agendas.
.I can't blame them, I wouldn't like Christianity either
.The good news: most Pastors and Christians aren't creepy
..we need to rethink what it means to live in a post-Christian country
.The bad news: most people don't see or meet the average Christian
.Might feel depressing, but the future is hopeful
..Get a job at a University or do something to spend lots of time
at a University
..Take care not to identify the church with a political party
..Most politics has lots of dirt in it, we don't want to be there
.Chapter 2 - Why I escaped the church office
.Liking Jesus but not liking Christians
..Mahatma Gandhi summed up similar feelings in a well-known quote
of his, "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your
Christians are so unlike your Christ."
.Too consumed with meetings to meet those who like Jesus
.The prison of the church office
.Life in the Christian bubble
..We are all about making church better for ourselves and making
our lives more comfortable in the Christian bubble we have created.
.The transformation from excited missionary into citizen of the bubble
..We get more excited about going overseas to the mission field
on summer trips than about the mission field we live in every day.
..we think of the church as a protection-from-the-world social club.
.My God! What have I become?
.Jesus didn't want us to create a Christian subculture
..go ye into all the world...and so on NOT "build ye a compound"
..I know that we all need the refreshment and encouragement of
.Examine your weekly or monthly calendar and ask yourself what you
could remove from your schedule of church activities or delegate to
someone else. Then write down what activities you could do and
where you could go to be around non-Christians and simply be friends
with them. It's time to escape. It's time to start having a missional
heart and to think like Jesus.
.The possibilities are unlimited when you start thinking like a
..I saw this before somewhere, the difference between a paper book
and an eBook. Other people can see me with a paper book (like a
Bible and related books) and the paper book starts a conversation.
..This is the mission and purpose of the local congregation: refresh and
encourage the missionaries (we are the missionaries)
.Chapter 3 - Jesus as Son of God and plastic action figure
.Jesus is my HomeBoy
.Jesus in music and in fashion, and glowing in the dark
.The dilemma of own a Jesus bobble-head
.There's something about Jesus
..It's becoming easier to talk about Jesus
.Who do you say I am?
..We think Jesus believes as we do, has the same personality and
temperament as we do.
.So who is "vintage" Jesus?
."I miss Jesus"
.Try this yourself or as an experiment with people in your church.
Write the name of Jesus on a piece of paper, and then underneath
that write words to describe him. Then see how many of your
descriptions you can verify in Scripture. How many are really only your
own thoughts of what He is like?
.Chapter 4 - Meeting those who like Jesus
.We may be embarrassed about Christianity, but we don't have to be
embarrassed about Jesus.
.Focusing on what they do know about Jesus
.Six common perceptions of 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
.Part 2 - What Emerging Generations Think about the Church
.Chapter 5 - The Church is an Organized Religion with a Political Agenda
."No, I don't go to church. I am very spiritual but definitely not
into organized religion."
.The first reason why they see the church as organized religion
..I can relate to God without all of the unnatural structure the organized
church would impose on me.
...I don't see the point of having to add on all these organized rules
.Spiritual Yes, church No
..believe that church leaders will try to control them...control how they
think, dress, and act.
..but then I go to a church and someone is there to say, "Stand up now,
sit down now, sing this now, listen to me now. do what I say now,
act like this now."
..They are concerned about lifeless and unexplained ritual.
.The second reason why they see the church as organized religion
..The church is about hierarchy, power, and control with a
.We are known for what we are against, not what we're for
.The third reason why they see the church as organized religion
..The church is made of leaders who function like CEOs
and desire power and control.
..our use of language furthers the impression that the church
is organized religion.
..Pastors - a friendly name, no adjectives in front of it.
.Do younger leaders in your church have a voice?
..The church today has leaders who set up church structures so they
can get power and control people.
.."Historians of religion like to say that Christianity was born
in the Middle East, moved to Greece and became a philosophy,
journeyed to Rome and became a legal system,
spread through Europe as a culture,
and when it migrated to America it became big business."
.What can we learn from this mis-perception?
..1 We can be organized without being organized religion
...The danger of non-organic organization
...Preacher focused or Jesus focused?
....we've placed a large cross where the preacher normally would stand.
I stand below the cross and off to the side a little.
Jesus is the center piece.
...Vintage home church or large-scale theater church?
....break up the room so it's not just rows and rows of chairs
facing one direction.
....I've been to another church...that set up their space like
a coffee house with little tables and chairs.
....We need to stress all the more that church is an organic
missional family, not merely a Sunday performance.
...From the homeless Son of Man to theater
seating and video screen
...These things do make a difference
...Strangling your church in organization
..We can empower younger leaders without bureaucracy
..We can bring life and meaning to rituals seen as controlling
..We can be sensitive to our use of the pulpit for personal agendas
..2 We can lead without the trappings of the corporate world
.The truth within a cliche
..It is not about religion, it truly is about relationship
...The church is an organized religion with a political agenda
...The church is an organized community with a heart
to serve others
.What would a visitor observe that clearly points to Jesus as the
reason we gather?
..Do we in church notice how regimented that we appear?
.."executive minister, elder board, management team" (FXCC
is caught up in this). To most baby boomers this made sense,
but not to the younger generations.
..The baby boomers have to get out of the way and let the
..When the author uses the term "vintage church" he is
referring to the "early church."
..This is another attempt at restoring NT Christianity. I think
this is an important point for Churches of Christ, people see
us as yet another big denomination.
.Chapter 6 - The Church is judgmental and negative
.I hate working Sundays, because that's when the Christians
.We are know for what we're against, not what we're for
..The church is a group of judgmental mudslingers
.If all people see is the negative, they won't know
.The day I tore some pages out of a Bible
..he tore out pages with negative commentary on them
.Embarrassed not by the Bible but what we do with it
.What can we learn from this mis-perception?
..1 We must know how and when to talk about sin
...Whom are we to judge and how are we to do it?
....but the pattern here (Bible) is judging Christians,
not those outside the church.
...Those lost and confused tattooed young people
...Younger people notice our critical and judgmental hearts
....People who focus so much on God's wrath come across like
they're happy that people will suffer one day.
...The Spirit transforms them to be like Jesus
....to be fully accepted, they need to conform to the
culture of the church.
..2 We need to focus more on what we stand for
..3 We can teach our churches to be more like salt and light
...The church is judgmental and negative
...The church is a positive agent of change, loving others
as Jesus would
...Love involves holding our tongues and
being wise in the way we act towards those outside the church,
having our conversations be "full of grace" and
"seasoned with salt." Colossians 4:5-6
.Chapter 7 - The Church is Dominated by Males and Oppresses Females
."A boy's club for adults."
.My initial observation about women in the church
..People in emerging generations also notice whether we have
women in leadership roles.
.Little things make a big difference
..Remember that I'm presenting reasons why emerging generations
are avoiding most churches.
.The church is a bride, not a boy's club
.What can we learn from this mis-perception?
..1 We need to have a balance of males and females
..2 We need to have a well-thought-out understanding
of the Bible
..3 We need to teach the people of our churches our position
..4 We need to stop thinking in stereotypes
...What is interesting is that this humor, which
is fairly commonly used by church leaders,
goes over great with older crowds,
who laugh and enjoy poking fun with stereotypes,
but it backfires among emerging generations,
who don't all appreciate it.
It goes against the values of many in our emerging culture.
..5 We need to include females in visible roles
..6 We need to include females in high levels of leadership
.Emerging generations want men to be men and
women to be women.
..The church is dominated by males and oppresses females
..The church holds women in the highest respect and
includes them in the leadership of the church.
..Note how often the author says, "look to the Bible,
study the Bible" and he is asking that we put more women
..WATCH OUT for humor! Younger generations
consider humor differently than older ones.
.Chapter 8 - The Church is Homophobic
..We need to understand to what degree our emerging
culture is aware of homosexuality and has come to accept it.
.A difficult thing to talk about and fully understand
..it matters how we treat fellow sinners
.Meeting two friends who have been wounded by the church
..1 Unloving words from church going Christians
..2 Growing up gay in the church
...If the church had simply viewed homosexuality as one of the
many natural sins that some people are drawn to as
a result of living in a fallen world and talked openly about
various sexual temptations, I would have been able to process it
like any other temptation that all Christians face. But by
stigmatizing...the church has contributed to the problem.
.My personal journey
.Then I entered the Christian subculture
..a small group of homosexuals does fit in that extreme
..We don't like it when Christians are stereotyped...and we
shouldn't stereotype others as extremists.
.A question to see how you react
.What can we learn from this mis-perception?
..1 We must understand how emerging generations
..2 We must be careful how we teach and preach
...tough question via email
...Knowing key theological arguments is not optional
...Make sure you understand what you are talking about
..3 We must understand that homosexuals are in our churches
.Good things are happening in our churches
..The church must be full of love and grace, but it also
must be a place that upholds truth.
.How this played out in our church
..I firmly believe that it isn't just what we teach about
human sexuality but how we teach it that is important.
..The church is homophobic
..The church is a loving and welcoming community
.Chapter 9 - The Church Arrogantly Claims all Other Religions are Wrong
..they seem so close minded and even look at other religions as enemies.
.A pluralistic acceptance of all faiths
..Christians come across as naive and arrogant when they can't even
carry on a conversation about the religions they reject.
..but before we can have conversations...we have to build relationships
.What we need to understand about emerging generations
..We need to view our world as a post-Christian culture
...In Buddha-Allah-Goddess-Kabbalah-Tarot-God we trust
...."It's strange but true that if we were to say, "I am thinking of
becoming Buddhist," the response today would probably be,
"Oh, very cool!" but if we were to say,
"I am thinking of becoming a Christian" the response would be,
"Oh, no! Please don't become one of them!"
...Interfaith chapel in the heart of the Bible belt
.What can we learn from this mis-perception
..We need a basic understanding of world faiths
..We need to train our churches to understand world faiths
..We need to be able to explain why not all paths lead to God
..We need to understand that not all religions are wholly wrong
.Talking about the resurrection
.Working at the witchcraft store and then walking over to the church
..The church arrogantly claims all other religions are wrong
..The church is respectful of other people's beliefs and faiths
.Chapter 10 - The Church is Full of Fundamentalists Who Take the Whole Bible Literally
..Six words will send most people...running away from the church,
"fundamentalists who take the Bible literally."
.Those crazy American fundamentalists
..verbally beat the Hell out of those who disagree
.Who is a fundamentalists?
.But then the fundamentalist subculture was created
..The problem is with everything we've added
.What does it mean to take the Bible literally?
..we are now having to address questions we never had to before
.Why did you lie to me? You were my youth pastor and I trusted you
..we can't assume that people in our churches won't ask the harder
questions about problematic passages.
.We must not hide the difficult and bizarre parts of the Bible
.No one ever told me that Noah got drunk and naked
..It seems more people are doing their homework about the Bible
outside the church than they are inside the church.
.Doing our homework and building trust through relationships
.What the word "literal" means in relation to the Bible
.Sadly, many people don't know basic Bible study methods
.Is Hell in the center of the earth?
.Sometimes we take the Bible literally, sometimes we don't
.We're not in a "The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it"
..But people in our emerging culture don't have that kind of
knowledge of the scriptures. So we need to explain things to
them, not just "shoot Bible verses at people like bullets."
.A famine in the land of hearing the words of the Lord
..this is from Amos 8:11
.What can we learn from this mis-perception?
..We need to teach people in our churches basic Bible skills
..We need to be careful not to teach our opinions as
what the Bible says
..We need to be prepared for a new wave of questions
..We need to use the Bible with love
..The church is full of fundamentalists who take
the whole Bible literally
..The church holds beliefs with humility and strives to be
.Part 3 - How the Church Can Respond
.Chapter 11 - What They Wish Church Were Like
.It doesn't matter how young or hip you are
.Getting them to go to church isn't the goal
..in most cases in our emerging culture, belonging precedes
.Three things you should know before you read this chapter
..1 We shouldn't change to match what people wish
church were like
..2 When asked what they wish church were like,
they described the worship gathering
..3 God uses a wide variety of churches to reach and disciple
.What they wish church were like
..1. I wish church were not just a sermon or a lecture
but a discussion
...The church has it backward focusing their teaching all in a lecture.
...I wouldn't want it to be where one person did all the talking
and teaching, but more of a rotation (of speakers).
..2. I wish the church would respect my intelligence.
..3. I wish the church weren't about the church building.
...but they (the church) won't come to us.
...Didn't Jesus meet with people in all kinds of places?
...C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien met weekly in an Oxford pub
to discuss life, literature, and theology.
..4. I wish church were less programmed and allowed time to
think and pray.
...I really like having a place in the church to go be quiet
and pray. (alcoves and such)
..5. I wish the church were a loving place
...He feel the church comes across conditionally with their love.
...And not try to guilt trip me for not being there.
..6. I wish the church cared for the poor and for the environment.
..7. I wish the church taught more about Jesus
...What is the goal of teaching here?
...To help me become a better disciple (follower) of Jesus
.Too much to cover in one chapter
.They want someone to ask them to be part of a church
..Yes C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien met weekly in an Oxford pub
to discuss life, literature, and theology.
..I also wish church were less programmed and allowed me more
time to write and pray. I know am I in a very small minority on
..The overall impression of those outside the church is that
we are a closed group.
.Chapter 12 - Our Two Biggest Barriers
..The problem is that they stumble on (1) the attitudes of some Christians
and (2) on the Christian subculture that we have put in their way before
they can even get to the cross.
.We have created a new chasm in the bridge illustration
..We need to recognize that we have created this second chasm,
and we need to make the effort to bridge it by building trust
so that people may at least be brought to the point of hearing
the gospel and understanding their need for a Savior.
.Focusing on the kingdom now as well as the kingdom after we die
.Digging the chasm with our Christian shovels
..It is in the context of relationships with missional Christians that they
become inspired to come to worship gatherings.
.The Holy Spirit still convicts and converts
..While I am not ashamed of the Gospel,
for it is the power of God that brings salvation (Romans 1:16),
I am ashamed of the way many Christians have presented
.Jesus cared about people and loved the world
..Do we have compassion for those outside the church?
.Never forget where so many of us came from
.God is working out there today
..I wish I would have known earlier that not all Christians are
such jerks. I had no idea. Maybe I would have believed in
..You'd be surprised what God can do if only we make the effort
to get out of our church subculture.
.Chapter 13 - A Great Hope for the Future
..The challenge is to forgive the Church.
This challenge is especially great because the Church seldom
asks us for forgiveness.
.We must be prepared to have some answers.
. It's exciting because this is what being a missionary is about
.More than just apologetics for those who are already convinced
.May we not get in the way of what God can do
.Even though we'll never have it all together,
we can have a missional heart
.Offering an apologetic and an apology
.You really can't dislike the church if you like Jesus
..they don't like what people have turned the church into
.Please don't be a weakling, those who like Jesus need you
.Appendix - Criticisms of this Book
.1. Isn't the reason that the people you quote say they like Jesus because
they hold only a pop-culture version of him in their mind?
.2. Isn't listening to them conforming to the world?
We shouldn't care what the world thinks;
we need to preach the gospel and leave the rest to the Holy Spirit.
..we are simply being good missionaries who respect people and want
to hear what they think so we can understand how to
communicate with them better.
.3. Isn't the real reason people in emerging generations are critical
of the church and won't come to church because they are sinners
and don't want to give up their sin? Aren't all of their objections
simply excuses for their sin?
..I think they are critical of the church because there are valid things
to be critical about.
.4. It's depressing to hear people's negative comments about the church.
Are these comments really representative of people in emerging
generations, or are they just extreme statements?
.5. I don't find people like this in my community.
Isn't your opinion skewed because you live in California and interviewed
..The prevalence of the media, the Internet, music, and travel today means
culture is becoming more uniform across the country and even globally.
.6. How did you answer the criticisms of the church in your discussions
with the people you interviewed?
..I had long discussions.