When I first started believing that God was working in my life I gave testimony to the people I love, most of whom didn't have anything to do with church, by saying: "I think God is leading me to go to school to be a pastor."
When I told my dad, I will never forget what he said to me; "So, is that a full time job?"
You know, because pastors supposedly only work on Sundays.
When I think back on that moment, though, I am astonished at what was really occurring. I was basically telling my dad that something had and was happening to me -- something so significant that my reality had changed -- and this fact affected him. His kid was becoming a representative of God, which meant anytime he talked about me, the God thing would come up. And people would want to know what he thinks about God, and where he goes to church. He would ultimately be confronted with the reality of God himself.
Never miss a local story.
Needless to say, as I began sharing what God was doing in my life, my new reality began to affect my family, my friends and my social circles. As my behavior shifted more and more toward God's ways, others saw God working through me which, in turn, showed them how God was working in their own lives. They, too, began to see the patterns of God -- and as they saw these things they, too, began to believe. Thus conversion after conversion in Jesus began happening among my family and my friends.
The longer I live, the more I am convinced there are millions of people out there who are genuinely yearning to also see something that might help them to gain faith. Many of these people, even in their doubt, are so searching for answers that they will even venture into a church to see if they can find some proof that God is real.
This is actually a very scientific approach to faith. The mindset is; "Let's test this 'God hypothesis' and see if there is any validity to it."
If these seekers go to church over and over and see people who don't seem to be growing in their faith, well then, it would be very logical for these scientifically minded seekers to believe that the god these self-proclaimed Christians are worshipping isn't really worth following. And if these "Christians" aren't visibly growing in their faith then it is highly probable it is because they are following a little "g" god and not the God of all creation.
I think seekers recognize this clearly because, innately, people, as creatures of God, know that the God of all creation is a God that -- simply by interaction with him -- changes our reality and changes who we are. Thus it is a product of interacting with God that we are changed for the better.
So if we wonder why our children, youth or our friends and family doubt God's existence, we need not blame the world or the powers within. Instead, we need to question whether we as Christians are adequately testifying to that which God is presently doing in our own lives. Because, for most seekers, belief in God usually has far less to do with them actually doubting God himself than it does with their concerns about the authenticity of the people who claim to follow him.
The Rev. Christopher Benek is the associate pastor of family ministries at Providence Presbyterian Church. Read his blog at www.christopherbenek.com.