I was once taught when starting my first paint company that if I do one really lousy paint job, the word on the street will be negative even though you do nine really good ones.
Street Cred is the most powerful form of influence and I think it is why the scriptures speak so honestly about trying to live ‘above reproach.’ We use this scripture to micro-manage issues of sin, but rarely do we apply it to the general way in which we give aroma or a stench to the public persona of Christendom.
Of late, there’s been a lot of call outs of key Christian figures. (Mark Driscoll, Steven Furtick, Joel Osteen among many others) Facebook is littered with scathing reviews of their theology, business practices, and spending habits. As these figures have thousands of followers there are also many defenders who are trying to help us find the silver lining or heart behind the infractions.
As I thought about this, I couldn’t help but mutter to myself, “Net Loss.” What I meant to say to myself, was no matter what the heart, what the intent, whether thoughts or comments or practices were taken out of context, you can’t take get the word off the street and that is always going to be a net loss.
If a pastor claims that 20, 000 people go to their church but their story of financial abuse hits Facebook or the evening news, the bottom line is that 250,000 or more were turned off by ‘the Christians’ again. Regardless of the 100 baptized last month, 50,000 now have another excuse to say, Christian leaders and their dumb as rocks sheep, won’t deal honestly with the real issues. (not my words, theirs!)
Reaching a few hundred isn’t a win if you loose a million! And that is exactly where we evangelicals find ourselves today. The good news? In 20 years will be as unchurched as the rest of the real world and maybe the Christian movement can reboot, redo, and regain some real street cred by living an honest, humble, and trustworthy lives. I don’t think we should wait that long to start, but it’s going to take a few generations of real Jesus people to ‘win out’ over the church people and church leaders we publically endure.
Micah 6:8 gives us a new grid of an old way to cut losses and win the streets again.
“But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
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