Book Review – Lee Strobel’s “Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry and Mary”

Strobel makes some good points in his book.  He shares his own personal experience as an unbelieving news reporter in pursuit of the best story at the expense of others being hurt.  And from his atheistic and skeptic background he brings to light how some unbelievers feel about church.  The book provides much food for thought as how to meet the needs of unchurched “Harry and Mary” (names he uses to refer to all the unchurched).  However, I do believe his overall premise is somewhat flawed.  We are not called to meet the needs and desires of the unchurched in our attempt to build the church.  On the contrary, we are called to make disciples and in doing so we must be truthful.  Stobel mentioned that there are three types or camps of people: A) People who have found God.  B)  People who are seeking God.  C)  People who are not seeking God.  In my experience it was not I who found God but God found me.  Or perhaps it would be better to say He found a way to penetrate my hardened heart.  From a genuine encounter with the Lord came forgiveness and redemption.  I became a disciple of Jesus.  Discipleship comes at a cost and not with all the thrills promised by some of the so-called “seeker-friendly” churches.  I am not saying such churches have not done a good work for the Lord.  What I have gleaned from this book is an up close look at what some unbelievers think about church, some methods of evangelism, and most of all, an understanding of how some churches have fallen into a trap of commercializing the church to the point of meeting the needs of the unchurched.  I believe Strobel has provided me with some good information which will help penetrate the culture of the unchurched and for this reason is right on-time with our current studies and what I will reference in my dissertation.  He states, “Rescuing people in spiritual peril frequently requires us to strategically venture into their environment” (85).  This point is well supported as he shares insight on how we can build bridges to the unchurched.  I think this information is extremely valuable.  My point is once the bridge is built we share the Good News in a way that does not compromise the mission of the church.  Otherwise, we are not really doing the work of evangelism but rather promotional-ism.

Fifteen Observations:
(from Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry and Mary by Lee Stobel)

Observation # 1)  Harry has rejected church, but that doesn’t mean he has rejected God.

Observation # 2)  Harry is morally adrift, but he secretly wants an anchor.

Observation # 3)  Harry resists rules but responds to reasons.

Observation # 4)  Harry doesn’t understand Christianity, but he’s also ignorant about what he claims to believe in.

Observation # 5)  Harry has legitimate questions about spiritual matters, but he doesn’t expect answers from Christians.

Observation # 6  Harry doesn’t just ask, “Is Christianity true?”  Often, he’s asking: “Does Christianity work?”

Observation # 7)  Harry doesn’t just want to know something; he wants to experience it.

Observation # 8)  Harry doesn’t want to be somebody’s project, but he would like to be somebody’s friend.

Observation # 9)  Harry may distrust authority, but he’s receptive to authentic biblical leadership.

Observation # 10)  Harry is no longer loyal to denominations, but he is attracted to places where his needs will be met.

Observation # 11)  Harry isn’t much of a joiner, but he’s hungry for a cause he can connect with.

Observation # 12)  Even if Harry’s not spiritually sensitive, he wants his children to get quality moral training.

Observation # 13)  Harry and Mary are confused about sex roles, but they don’t know the Bible can clarify for them what it means to be a man and woman.

Observation #14)  Harry is proud that he’s tolerant of different faiths, but he thinks Christians are narrow-minded.

Observation #15)  There’s a good chance Harry would try church if a friend invited him – but this may actually do him more harm than good.

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