Ed Stetzer, church planting guru and overall strategic genius, kindly featured an interview with me on his website today. Go by and let him know your thoughts. See a glimpse below:
From Ed Stetzer:
“Today, I feature an interview with Eric Michael Bryant about his book Not Like Me. This book, formerly titled Peppermint-Filled Pinatas, argues that we can become agents of change creating genuine community among people from a variety of backgrounds and belief systems through our relationships. Eric is part of the leadership team at Mosaic in Los Angeles, which is a church known for its creativity and diversity.
I had the opportunity to contribute “Field Notes” to this book, and I’ll be sharing those tomorrow here at the blog.
I appreciate Eric for taking the time to answer some questions here and to interact on the blog today.
Ed Stetzer: What is the message of Not Like Me?
Eric Bryant: Not Like Me advocates for the rights of those who do not yet follow Jesus. My goal was to help people of faith learn how to develop meaningful relationships with people with whom they disagree, differ, or even dislike. Too often as Christians we hide away from the world rather than engage in it. As a result, we alienate those who do not follow Jesus at a distance. They deserve better than that.
ES: Why do you think our churches seem to drift towards more of a “shelter from the world” mentality?
EB: Sometimes we confuse the ideas of being “set apart” and being “sent out.” We are supposed to be “set apart” in our behavior but “sent out” into our relationships. Sometimes we do the opposite. We become “set apart” from the very people God has brought into our lives to love, serve, and influence. It’s human nature to spend time with the people who are most like us because of our self-centered tendencies. Another big part of the problem would be our more consumeristic view of the church. At Mosaic, we strive to go against that. Our lead pastor Erwin McManus says: “The church is not here to meet our needs. We are the church here to meet the needs of the world.” If our relationship with God was all about me and Jesus, then my pastor should have just drowned me during my baptism so I could go straight into His presence. Instead, he brought me out of the water because there is much more for me to do. I now represent Jesus everywhere I go.”