A Telling Confession Off I-10 Eastbound by Gabe Lyons

In a fit of honesty or perhaps confession, a Christian church in Texas admitted last week that they’ve been anything but Christian. Christ Covenant Church in Beaumont, Texas purchased a prominent billboard on which they posted the following message: “What a bunch of jerks!”

As the church’s website declared:

The church has failed. That’s right; we’ve messed up, big time. The church was SUPPOSED to be a reflection of the God it claimed to serve. The church was SUPPOSED to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. But, for the most part, the church has failed.

Our failure has left a bad taste in people’s mouths. Our mistakes have led to a lack of credibility. Our messes have caused people to seek answers for this life elsewhere. And really, who could blame people for giving up on the church? Ghandi had a very good point when he said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

. . . At Christ Covenant Church, do you know what our response is? Guilty as charged.

Last Friday, I was invited to respond to the gesture by CNN Headline News’s Mike Galanos:

Our research confirms what the billboard attempts to acknowledge. The majority of young people in America indeed view Christians as judgmental, hypocritical, anti-gay, and too political, among other things. If the old proverb that “confession is the first step to repentance” then this may be more than a billboard off I-10 eastbound. It may be a sign that believers in a state where traditional Christianity still dominates are waking up to our post-Christian reality.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating that every Christian church in America publicly confess their unchristian ways. I’m simply acknowledging that a new mindset is emerging throughout the church that might change the negative perceptions many have about us. Ultimately, I hope churches like Christ Covenant can not only admit their failings but embrace a new way of being Christian that might restore confidence in our faith.

Editor’s Note: In his new book, The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America, Gabe details six ways for Christians to engage our post-Christian society that is both faithful to the Gospel and winsome in our culture. Buy it now and get a gift card for TOMS Shoes, music downloads, To Write Love on Her Arms merchandise, an Academy Award nominated short film and more.