North Point Community Church Senior Pastor Andy Stanley has said he believes that most people who've left the church still maintain "a crush on Jesus."
When asked what Christians can do to win people back to church, Stanley responded that he believed even those who are not interested in worship still desire to be loved, "especially when things aren't going well," he said in an interview with ChristianBook.com that he shared on Twitter Monday for his new book, Irresistible: Reclaiming the New that Jesus Unleashed for the World.
"Post-Christians could care less about my new sermon series. But they're still interested in matters of faith and spirituality," said Stanley.
"And — this is big — most post-Christians still have a crush on Jesus. While modern folks may be hesitant to recognize Jesus as divine, they're not in the least bit hesitant to laud him as someone whose life is worth imitating."
Stanley also spoke about reaching out to those who are unchurched, saying he refuses to use the statement "the Bible says," echoing comments he has made in the past.
In his interview with ChristianBook.com, Stanley compared using the term "the Bible says" in modern American culture to using the term "the Quran says."
"Appealing to post-Christian people on the basis of the authority of Scripture has essentially the same effect as a Muslim imam appealing to you on the basis of the authority of the Quran," explained Stanley.
"You may or may not already know what the Quran says. But it doesn't matter. You don't view it as authoritative."
Stanley expressed a preference for using terms like "Jesus taught," "Paul wrote," or "Peter declares," labeling phrases like that as "better" and "more accurate."
"I can tell you from years of personal experience, this approach immediately reduces resistance among post-Christians, nonChristians, and Christians who are struggling to maintain faith," Stanley added.
Stanley's book, Irresistible, was released on Sept. 18 and was written in response to the rise in the number of Americans who've left Christianity to identify as atheist or "religiously unaffiliated."
"'The Bible says' .... doesn't carry the weight it once did and thanks to our digital world, folks know 'what else' the Bible says without even picking up a Bible. In spite of this, we preach, teach, write, and communicate as if nothing has changed. As if 'The Bible says it,' still settles it," noted the book's official description.
"According to Stanley, it's time to hit pause on much of what we're doing and consider the faith modeled by our first century brothers and sisters who had no official Bible, no status, and humanly speaking, little chance of survival."