Christians need to re-connect with unchurched people, and we need new ways to do this.

Why? Here are a few of the reasons that really matter:

In former generations, you could assume that your friends and acquaintances knew something about the Christian basis of our society, its laws and its community values. When people shared their faith, the focus could be on ‘personal commitment’.

This simply does not fit any more. We need to come home to our true selves as Christians.

We all know about the great ‘declines’ – of church attendance, church weddings, scripture in schools, baptisms, Christian values of money and sex, knowledge of scripture, reading of scripture, respect for authority, and the acceptance that religion has a place in a community. This is no Christian society nor is there a general acceptance of the place of religion. It takes us longer to earn trust and to provide basic information of Jesus’ life death and resurrection. It takes time to open up and correct the false ideas that are doing the rounds. And how can we discuss the implications when lots of people just don’t make any ‘commitments’ to anything except their mortgage – they just shop and change. It’s a consumer society.

Alpha and Christianity Explained have done a good job, but there are three things needed before people can really gel with them:

1. Many people can’t accept that quoting the Bible settles any question. They do not know what it is about, they know it can be quoted to suit your own ends, and therefore they can not yet accept its authority. Makes You Wonder does not just quote the Bible , it uses the text of scripture as a source of hope and wisdom. We hope that by doing this honestly, participants will build up a feeling for its value.

2. Many people aren’t confident about spiritual stuff. They suspect it might be just your vivid imagination. It may feel like visiting a foreign land – a lot of it doesn’t make any sense – and they conclude that they are not the religious type. Makes You Wonder asks specific questions about their own experiences and, in the feedback , shows that spiritual qualities and values are already present, fairly self-evident and already within their experience.

3. Many people, even believers, can’t see what the God-dimension has to do with normal life. Their faith can’t connect with the roles, trials, decisions and conversations of Monday to Saturday. Lost for words, they find it too hard to share their faith in any relevant way. Makes You Wonder gives Christians some exposure and experience in talking about faith in new ways that are relevant, human, meaningful, gentle and respectful.

Lastly, no change will happen without a more significant prayerfulness. The widespread resistance to this need is perhaps the clearest indication yet that in the church our theory is good but our practise is poor. We simply cannot take God’s mission forward if all we talk about is demographics, community needs, budgets and buildings. If we hope to share our vision with others, Christians need to look into and learn from our own experience – with less censure, more experimentation, more provocation, more biblical and less noise. We might find we are more at peace, more attractive to conversation with others, just more lovely to be around, a goodly place. Such prayer is subversive. Such a peace is infectious.

We need that. We won’t get it simply by thinking warmly in this direction. We need to work together to allow fresh light to shine from our experiences. We see the “earthen vessels all too clearly, maybe even cynically. We need to catch a fresh appreciation of the value of “the treasure” inside.




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