Reply To: “I’m Spiritual, but Not Religious”

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Ray Smith


I’m relatively new, but here’s my thoughts. I look at us as doing the healing work of Jesus. First, we have to diagnose, then we dispense spiritual prescriptions. Maybe handing out a rosary (the prescription) without knowing what they’re ailing from is instead something that should come after the diagnosis.

I might try a different conversation starter: “Friend, we are out here today blessing people with a quick prayer to help them grow in their faith. Can we bless you?”
They say “No, thank you, I’m spiritual but not religious.” Here’s what they mean: “I’m involved in a demonstration of faith not associated with my younger years. In other words, my parents brought me to a formal church of some denomination, but now I go to what feels like an uber-cool experience of Jesus, and I don’t want to go back. I didn’t know what I had before, but what I have now feels like more.”

I would respond with “Friend, the word ‘religion’ actually comes from a Latin word that means to bind together into a relationship. Religion actually ALLOWS that relationship to grow. If you don’t mind, where do you worship now?”

And, they will respond with some megachurch with a great coffee selection, casual clothes and a Pastor who’s uber-hip. I would think about “build on what they have, and offer them something more.”

I would say “That’s great that you go to Viacom Stadium Church of God. Wow, the crowds they on the weekend! We’re out here today, focused on Jesus, and if some Jesus is good and more Jesus is better, wouldn’t you like to get the most Jesus you could?”

They say “Well, sure.” You say “Now, although Jesus was a carpenter, when He gave us a Church, it wasn’t a BUILDING, but rather a set of BELIEFS, which are a matter of historical record. Are you aware of that?”

And, that’s when they’ll say no, and you’ll tread lightly so as not to make them feel shame, but rather keep Jesus out front, and “if they could experience the most Jesus they could get, would they be interested in that?” Behold, the crossroads: cool…or faithful to Jesus?

And, then I would give them a pamphlet that summarizes the beliefs of Jesus’ Church and ask them to meet for coffee in the next week, here’s my contact info, I’d like to answer the questions that will naturally come up. If they’re evangelicals, rosaries, medals and all that will trigger them. Keep the discussion on the most Jesus they can possibly get.

Your thoughts?