What non-Christians believe and think
Getting inside Jay’s head
How do non-Christians think? If it is some years since you became a Christian, maybe you have forgotten? Or if you made a commitment very early in life, maybe you never really knew. And if your only friends are believers, how can you ever find out? What are their felt needs and worries? We cannot easily reach those we do not understand.
This material can be used as a monologue within an IE Day program. It can be voiced by either a man or a woman. Other dramas and monologues are also available.
Let’s look inside Jay’s head …
“I’m not a Christian, so ...
- I really don’t understand this religious stuff.
- I did try and read bits of the Bible when I was at school, but found it hard to understand. I never went to church or Sunday School or anything.
- It really bugs me to see Christians claiming that they know it all.
- I doubt they have much fun anyway, because they are living by a load of rules.
- Well, some do. Mandy in the Accounts Department goes to church, but she can’t keep her hands off men. Ever.
- Of course, I do try to live by my own rules too. Well, most of the time. I still feel bad about what happened with Sam though.
- There is one church in town that give out leaflets in the street. They are so badly produced though – just lots of text and Bible verses. I never read them properly. There’s an invitation to their church services at the end – but I would never dare to go to a church by myself, even if I wanted to. I’d feel like a fish out of water.
- Church services sometimes come on the TV too. I always switch channels, they seem so old-fashioned and preachy. One time though, I came across a Christian program that was looking at the Christian messages hidden in recent Hollywood film releases. Now, that WAS interesting, and it made sense to me. (I try to get to the movies every two or three weeks.) Another time, there was a story about Christians starting an AIDS hospice in our country. Those people really impressed me.
- Not that I actually know any Christians at all. Otherwise I could perhaps find out more, and ask some real questions. If they’d try and give straight answers, and not just preach at me.
- Well, if their beliefs work for them, that’s great. Of course, I do read my horoscope when I remember to. I always try to avoid things that it warns against. And Charlie gave me some healing crystals – I keep them by my bed, and they really seem to make me feel calmer sometimes. Buddhism sounds fun, actually. There are evening classes at the local college. Carlos and Miriam have been going. They say it is really good – there is no pressure to join anything, the classes are friendly and interactive, and already they feel that their lives are changing for the better.
- Not that I need God, or religion or stuff. Though it would be nice to know where I am going. To feel more grounded. Have a purpose. And I wish I could cope with stress better than I do. Or even find someone I could talk to about the things that worry me. My job is not safe any more. I can’t face all that job-loss stuff again – it’s happened twice before. Specially with my loans to repay. And I’m just hoping that dad’s medical tests won’t show anything bad. Specially now he has left mum and is living alone.
- And even deal with that thing which happened when I was a child – what that man did to me in the toilets. I never told anyone, not even my mother. It still makes me feel guilty. I manage to blank it out most of the time. I’m sure it contributed to my last relationship breakup. Life is a bit lonely just now.
- Of course, I always try to escape from the week’s stress on Friday night. Me and a few mates. It seems to help, somehow. But there’s always Monday again.”
Jay is the majorityOur imaginary friend Jay is typical of many people in the West and beyond. Even in the US context with an unusually high level of church-going, he or she still represents half the population – someone who is ‘unchurched’. In Canada, Europe, Australia/NZ, where church-going is often 5% or less, ‘Jays’ represent the overwhelming majority of the population.
Some writers place a photo of a real or imaginary ‘target reader’ on their desks, so that they do not lose focus in their communication. Jay represents that ‘everyperson’ we should be aiming to communicate with.
Attempts to reach Jay, using assumptions, language or methods which might work for someone with a church background, or may have been successful in the past, are likely to fail.
Another vital point, not understood by many male evangelists: women actually think differently to men. They respond to different needs and issues.
What sorts of evangelism is most likely to reach Jay? What are his or her felt needs? Where would you place Jay on the Gray Matrix?
More questions about reaching Jay.
- Book: Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry and Mary by Lee Strobel, Zondervan, ISBN 9780310375616. Key book from Lee Strobel.
- Book: unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity... and Why It Matters, by David Kinnaman & Gabe Lyons, Baker Publishing, ISBN 0801013003. Unless we understand how outsiders perceive the Christian faith, and their reasons, we will never be able to reach them. See video clip at end of this page.
- Book: Jim & Casper Go To Church – Frank conversations about faith, churches, and well-meaning Christians, by Jim Henderson, Matt Casper, Barna/Tyndale Publishing, ISBN 1414313314
- Book: Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity by Nancy Pearcey, Crossway Books (Good News Publishers, Wheaton), ISBN 1-58134-458-9. It is essential to understand the prevailing post-modern worldview. Nancy Pearcey’s book explores the issues.
- FaithVisual interview
– short video interview with several not-yet Christians.
- Thirteen keys to Christian ministry – 13 insightful and biblical principles on how we should relate to non-Christians in ministry.
- How people can be turned from the gospel by Christians – a look at Freud’s life, by Rusty Wright.
- A Famous Revolutionary’s Surprising Past – how might history have differed had the young Marx met intelligent but sensitive believers who could have explained the faith's intellectual roots while demonstrating Jesus' concern for the poor and suffering?
- How others view us – tells how this “nice Jewish boy from Jersey” ended up attending church “more often than many Christians” and sometimes more often than he attends his own synagogue.
- 7 Questions Skeptics Ask – you explain your beliefs but a not-yet Christian friend has questions: How could a loving God allow evil and suffering? The Bible is full of contradictions. What about people who’ve never heard of Jesus?
- Christians Apologize for Ancient Wrongs – saying sorry really does open up hostile hearts to the truth.