Why are you here?
This is a pretty simple question and one we get asked often, but the answer gets more complicated the more I think about it. I think sometimes I have done a pretty bad job of answering it. At times, it was because I was bad at German and had trouble expressing the answer. Other times, it has to do with context and trying to answer the question in a country with a history like Austria's. When religion is primarily a tool of power, authority and guilt, it is easy to see how someone would not want to be associated with it. When one has never met someone with honest and sincere faith, it is easy to dismiss it. Knowing these things, it's hard for me to answer the question in a way that doesn't turn someone off or give them the wrong impression.
Why are you here? For a long time my answer was something along the lines of:
- I went to university to be a pastor and studied theology.
- We are working with the newly recognized “evangelikale Gemeinden”(evangelical churches), because they are small and many cannot afford to pay a pastor. (Having "government recognition" means our churches have some validity in people's minds)
- We want to connect with those that are searching and share with them about Jesus.
This isn’t the wrong answer. It is straight forward and hopefully understandable to someone with little contact with faith outside of very hierarchical churches. But I am wondering if there is a better answer. One that is directer and gets to the point.
Why are you here?
- I am here because Jesus is different. He says religion is man trying to reach God, but in him God came to us.
- I am here because the world is broken, it is not as it should be.
- I am here because I believe Jesus transforms lives. He is doing it in my life (I am not finished yet) and he wants to do it in every life.
- I am here because the stories are true. All of them. The ones that make our hearts sing and the tragedies that cause them to break, that God reveals himself to man and calls us into communion with him.
I think it is important to remind myself of this, just like we need constant reminders in life.
So the question is... why are you there?