Ray is twenty-seven years old and works in IT at the local university. He’s been married for three years and he and Jessica just had a baby girl a couple of months ago. Life is pretty good for Ray and Jessica. They own their home – well, the bank owns it, but they bought it. They drive decent cars that they bought used because they are trying to live financially intelligent lives. Nonetheless, the one area in their life they struggle with is finances. Even though Ray makes great money, their student loan payments are steep. However, he brings home enough to cover the bills and to ensure Jessica can be a stay-at-home mom. Still, it’s tighter than they’d like.
Ray’s never gone to church. Ever. He attended his grandfather’s funeral at a church when he was too young to really remember, but all the other funerals have been at funeral home chapels. In fact, he’s never been to a church wedding – his friends all got married either at the state park or a wedding venue.
Speaking of friends, he and Jessica have a strong friendship circle. They both graduated from the local university and they’ve maintained some great friendships. Plus Ray’s well connected at work and has a couple of guys he hangs out with regularly.
Ray believes there’s a god out there somewhere, but he’s not worried about it. He knows a couple of “church people” and he has a Muslim coworker. To be honest, he’s not been especially impressed by the way they live their lives. Religion seems mostly to be an extra-curricular activity for them. He’s been invited to attend church a couple times, but he’s never been interested. He’s simply not a church person. It’s not that he’s against religion, it’s just not his thing and he doesn’t see any need for it.
Back in college, he took a class that covered the world’s religions and the class had to read from the Quran, the Bible, and the Vedas. In his opinion, they all said about the same things – mostly be a decent human being to one another. He meets that level of living, and that’s good enough for him. Frankly, as far as he’s concerned, the world would be a much better place if the Christians, the Muslims, and the Catholics could all find a way to get along.
Ray and Jessica are becoming a part of the norm in the US … in fact, if the trends continue, they’ll represent the majority of US adults within the next twenty-five years or so, at least in terms of their spiritual experience.
That said, here are some questions to consider:
- Why would Ray and Jessica be interested in Christianity?
- Why would Ray and Jessica want to come to your church?
- If they did come to your church, why would they want to come back?
A couple things to consider: (1) They believe the Bible is your book, not theirs. It’s just another old religious book. (2) They have all the friends they need. (3) They’re not worried about heaven or hell – they live better lives than most of the Christians they know (though to be fair, they don’t know very many). (4) They’re familiar with the stories about Jesus and Krishna and Mohammed – and have concluded the stories are all myth, pretty much on the same level as Robin Hood. They all remind us to be good to the poor.
Share your comments below. I will respond to them in character as “Ray.” I won’t be intentionally obtuse, but I’m not going to be an easy mark either. If you’re going to try and evangelize Ray, you’re going to have to figure out how to do it in a way that fits into his worldview. Remember … his eternity may be riding on your ability to share the faith.
There are a lot of Ray and Jessica’s in your community. And there really IS a way to reach them for Christ. It’s not easy and it takes time, but it CAN be done.
That said, if you haven’t grabbed my Get More Visitors Checklist (it’s FREE), you may want to get it. In it, I share the three tools that are still effective to grow churches.