ADDoration Ministries
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
God is SO GOOD; although I have ADD.

If unchurched, I understand

IF UNCHURCHED, I UNDERSTAND.

I myself was essentially unchurched for roughly sixteen years, during my young adult years. I then was in a singles group that met in a church; however the church then was just a building where the singles group met. During my college years at Purdue, I unfortunately was involved in some infighting within a campus church organization. The consequence was that I graduated from Purdue with an ambivalent apathetic view of church people.

In many cases (especially with ADD persons), a negative experience impacts a person's opinion of churches, in general. Perhaps you once were in a church that somehow missed the mark. ADD persons have a tendency to conclude that they don't fit in, and that is true anywhere -- regardless of whether it's a church. The poor self-esteem of ADD persons is one reason why they sometimes conclude that they don't fit in. You do fit in with Jesus; although humans might cause you to wonder. Regardless of whether ADD, past negative church experiences can sometimes cause difficulty in allowing "Let bygones, be bygones." However our awesome God very much can help you put away those past negative experiences.

Remember too that all churches will have imperfect parishioners. There is no such thing as a perfect Christian. Some church parishioners are not the best example of Jesus's love.

When Jesus called a tax collector, Matthew, to become a disciple, Jesus said, "Those who are well have no need of a physician. For I have come to call not the righteous, but the sinners." This scripture means that churches are for imperfect persons.

15 OBSERVATIONS ABOUT UNCHURCHED HARRY AND MARY
From "Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry & Mary"
by Lee Stroebel, c. 1993 , Zondervan Press

(1) Harry has rejected church, but that doesn't necessarily mean he has rejected God.

(2) Harry is morally adrift, but he secretly wants an anchor.

(3) Harry resists rules but responds to reasons.

(4) Harry doesn't understand Christianity, but he's also ignorant about what he claims to believe in.

(5) Harry has legitimate questions about spiritual matters, but he doesn't expect answers from Christians.

(6) Harry doesn't just ask, "Is Christianity true?" Often he's asking: "Does Christianity work?"

(7) Harry doesn't just want to know something; he wants to experience it.

(8) Harry doesn't want to be somebody's project, but he would like to be somebody's friend.

(9) Harry may distrust authority, but he's receptive to biblical leadership.

(10) Harry is no longer loyal to denominations, but he is attracted to places where his needs will be met.

(11) Harry isn't much of a joiner, but he's hungry for a cause he can connect with.

(12) Even if Harry's not spiritually sensitive, he wants his children to get quality moral training.

(13) Harry and Mary are confused about sex roles, but they don't know that the Bible can clarify for them what it means to be a man and a woman.

(14) Harry is proud that he's tolerant of different faiths, but he thinks Christians are narrow-minded.

(15) There's a good chance Harry would try church if a friend invited him - but this may actually do more harm than good.

MY RESPONSES TO THE 15 OBSERVATIONS

(1) Harry has rejected church, but that doesn't necessarily mean he has rejected God.

Response -- he might not have rejected God; therefore God has his foot in the door. God has reached out to us all since birth. As for Harry having rejected church, I have commented up above that negative past experiences could cause prejudices against church.

(2) Harry is morally adrift, but he secretly wants an anchor.

Response -- ADD persons often are searching for something to be an anchor, such as a higher power.

(3) Harry resists rules but responds to reasons.

Response -- I too reject the "set of rules" approach. Some Christians excessively focus on rules. Instead, I prefer a nurturing relationship with a Jesus of unconditional love. "Reasons" are part of this relationship. In selecting a church, look for one that focuses on the relationship, instead of a "set of rules."

(4) Harry doesn't understand Christianity, but he's also ignorant about what he claims to believe in.

(5) Harry has legitimate questions about spiritual matters, but he doesn't expect answers from Christians.

(6) Harry doesn't just ask, "Is Christianity true?" Often he's asking: "Does Christianity work?"

Response to items 4, 5, and 6 -- ADD persons typically are searching. The answer to the search doesn't come immediately, but in God's timing. During this search, we pray for ample evidence that Christianity does indeed work. "Seek and you will find." Whether the answers come from Christians is a moot point; however let's not rule out the possibility of Christians having a answer. Christians can pray for you, that God guide you in the search.

(7) Harry doesn't just want to know something; he wants to experience it.

Response -- I agree that experience is far more effective than head knowledge.

(8) Harry doesn't want to be somebody's project, but he would like to be somebody's friend.

Response -- absolutely, become somebody's friend. Let's aim to be mutual friends.

(9) Harry may distrust authority, but he's receptive to biblical leadership.

Response -- I agree that preaching (read, authority) doesn't cut it. However we all respect Bible leadership. Unchurched persons typically obey some Bible passages, such as "Thou shalt not kill' and "Thou shalt not steal." That is a start in establishing the Bible as your guide.

(10) Harry is no longer loyal to denominations, but he is attracted to places where his needs will be met.

Response -- which denomination is of little significance. We are looking for a church that demonstrates that Jesus is love, and that encourages a relationship with Jesus as Lord.

(11) Harry isn't much of a joiner, but he's hungry for a cause he can connect with.

Response -- that is typical of ADD persons.

(12) Even if Harry's not spiritually sensitive, he wants his children to get quality moral training.

Response -- that is a very good reason to join a church -- so that your children get good moral training. We prefer that you go with them to church.

(13) Harry and Mary are confused about sex roles, but they don't know that the Bible can clarify for them what it means to be a man and a woman.

Response -- that opens a can of worms. Some of Paul's writings are controversial among Christians (i.e., that a woman shall not speak in church and that the husband is the head of the household). Some of Paul's writings spoke to the cultural situations in those days. However, to me gender roles are of lower priority than that Jesus loves you. To me, any concern for the roles of men and women is in the category of a "set of rules."

(14) Harry is proud that he's tolerant of different faiths, but he thinks Christians are narrow-minded.

Response -- I hear you. If a believer is narrow-minded, it sounds like the "set of rules" has taken over. Instead we pray for love to exist among a variety of faiths. We may not believe alike, but let's love alike.

(15) There's a good chance Harry would try church if a friend invited him - but this may actually do more harm than good.

Response -- if a friend invites you, take him up on that. You would have the friend's support while there. Really, you risk very little. If it does more harm, maybe you ought to try another church.

BUT STILL REGULAR WORSHIP AT A LOCAL CHURCH IS ADVISED.

Although I understand why many persons are unchurched, I maintain that regular worship at a local church is vital toward your developing a relationship with the Lord. I feel certain that a person cannot succesfully be a solitary Christian. You need the support of other believers in Christ. That support will help keep you on track -- I mean on track for this a nurturing relationship with a God of unconditional love.

You are now looking at a web site, but a web site isn't very good about this support from other believers. You need the support of other believers whom you see face to face, like at a local church.

I like a slogan that the United Methodist denomination has been using lately -- "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors." This slogan is part of Igniting Ministries, which is a recent United Methodist promotional program. This slogan is essentially what to look for in a church. But I don't necessarily mean to be promoting the United Methodist denomination, because which denomination is insignificant. Presbyterians, Catholics, Lutherans, etc. probably have similar programs.

Begin with a church, by just worshipping with them on Sunday. You don't necessarilly have to join the church -- at least not yet. You can hold off on membership until it is God's timing for you. After a while, somebody in the church might contact you, to find out whether you want to join -- but still, you may hold off until you feel God calling you to join. Somebody might visit you, as part of church visitation, but that doesn't obligate you. If you were never baptized nor confirmed, that's OK. To me, sacraments don't always coincide with a person's de-facto relationship with a church. Jesus loves you, regardless.

If it is the time of year of the stewardship drive for pledges for money, that often is unfortunate timing for somebody just beginning to worship with the church. You can tell them that you prefer to delay your pledge, until God guides your contributions. They might reply that they need the pledge in order to set the budget -- still let God guide your contributions. If they vehemently insist on a tithe, that surely indicates that it is a "set of rules" type of church.

A Bible study group is sometimes a very good place for a person to begin in developing a church relationship. Bible study groups typically have discussions, where people share what the scripture means to them. That is face to face dialog, when you have the chance to get to know them as persons. Then too, a Bible study is on the document that is a Christian's guide to spiritual matters. Don't be afraid to admit to those people that you know very little about the Bible.

As I was saying, a person cannot really be a solitary Christian. We pray for God to guide you in selecting a church that encourages a love filled nurturing relation with Jesus.

<*(((>< your ADD brother in the Risen Christ,
Lester Hemphill
Founder of ADDoration Ministries