This week I was one of the speakers at SA Baptist's INSPIRE conference. I met some great people - renewed some old friendships, and began some new ones. Of the insightful sessions on how God's people are showing and sharing God's love in our culture, I was particularly encouraged by one session via zoom.
Rachel Jordan-Wolf from HOPE TOGETHER in the UK, called in from London and unpacked some compelling survey results on her culture's perception of practicing Christians.
Two questions/responses struck me: 1. The percentage of people who knew a practicing Christian - 76%! 2. The top 3 perceptions people have of a practicing Christian - certainly not what I expected She gave stats from her context, but we were also provided with similar research in Australia.
For the first question, 92% of Australians know at least one Christian. And the top three perceptions weren't 'judgemental' or 'old-fashioned', but 'caring', 'loving' and 'kind'. (see www.faithandbelief.org.au)
Rachel's message was — "stop listening to the perception from popular media, and let the truth of public research shape your perspective."
I came away having my deficit mentality confronted and challenged — I was being invited into a sufficiency mindset - that in our culture it actually possible to freely show and share God's love as God's people.