What One Church Did Right
Walking into a church with his reporter’s notebook from the Chicago Tribune tucked in his jacket pocket, Lee Strobel, author of “The Case for Christ,” was on a mission to discredit Christianity once and for all.
On an episode of Investigating Faith, Strobel shares what one church did to help him move from atheist to evangelist for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
While church bashing is more popular now than ever as churches take the heat from critics, Strobel encourages believers not to lose faith in the impact of the church because “the church is the hope of the world.”
When Strobel first started his investigation to confirm his doubts about Christianity and to rescue his newly converted wife from this suspected “cult,” the following five things began the process of softening his heart:
- The church’s respect for outsiders
- The church’s intentional attitude toward Scripture
- The church’s relatable sermons
- The church’s genuine presentation of the Gospel
- The church’s transparency about where the money was going
Where Strobel expected hostility, pressure, lack of evidence, shallowness, an unrealistic standard of perfection, and secrecy, he instead found inclusivity, freedom, truth-based faith, grace, sincerity, and down to earth conversations — characteristics Jesus Himself would extend to all people walking through a church’s doors.
Strobel’s experience confirms the church is full of broken people searching for answers to life’s hard-hitting questions and losses. More than a building, the church was created to reflect the love, mercy and compassion of Jesus.
Two years after his investigation began and realizing it would take more faith to maintain his atheism than to believe the mountain of evidence pointing to the validity of Christianity, Strobel bent a knee to Jesus and everything “began to change for the good.”
Feeling called to leave his journalism career behind and take a major pay decrease, Strobel began working for the very church he set out to use as back-up to his claim that Christianity was nothing but a made-up legend.
Strobel’s story is a wake-up call for all believers and churches to evaluate and rethink how they are representing the Gospel to the broken.
His story also beckons Christians to start and participate in healthy churches that don’t stay within their four walls, but actively reach out to the community and spread the message of hope and grace far and wide.
Strobel’s transformation to an evangelist for the same truth he wanted to destroy is a challenge for every follower of Jesus to not give up on the church but see it as an opportunity to change the world for the better — for God’s glory.
And as one of Strobel’s heroes of the faith, Luis Palau, once said, “When all is said and done, you will never regret being courageous for Christ.”