What do you call people who aren’t Christians at your church?

  • Non Christians
  • Lost
  • Unsaved
  • seekers

I think there are issues with all of these categories. Lets break them down

Non Christians – calling people non Christians is an exclusionary term, it is a term which we divide people into groups Christians and non Christians, sounds like us and them. Even though the bible does use this kind of language it can and does present barriers to evangelism and making people who don’t know Jesus feel comfortable in church.

Lost – Are they really lost? Once again this has got roots in the bible (i.e. Luke 15). But does this adequately get at what Luke 15 is about? Is Luke 15 primarily about people being lost or Gods love for the lost? If it is about god’s love for the people who don’t love Jesus shouldn’t we have another term for the “lost”?

Unsaved – If you think about it when does the bible talked about those who are unsaved? Doesn’t the prefix un suggest that once they were saved? Anyway this doesn’t communicate the love that we should have for those we are seeking to share the gospel with.

Seekers – My atheist friend hates this term. He says” I am not seeking anything so why call me a seeker”? I think this term reflects that most people have got either a Christian worldview and are seeking the right church or they are searching for something more. I do think that many people are searching for something more but there are just as many relatively happy with their life without Jesus and therefore this term is not broad enough to categorize all people who don’t love Jesus.

But the biggest issue for me is the biblical one. In the Bible God sends his son to the world because he loves the world (John 3:16-17) and so mission in the bible starts with God and his love. Shouldn’t we talk about people who are not saved, seekers, etc. In terms which capture this dynamic?

What if we started calling people aren’t Christians something like

  • Those who Jesus loves
  • Those who Jesus was sent for

Of course all this raises a number of other questions. But blogs aren’t meant to tie up every loose end and give us resolution.

Do you think these capture the love of God more than our traditional designations? What do you think? Join the conversation……


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