Before I share my response let me also capture a little bit of a conversation that I had with Pastor Amilcar, the new pastor in San Vicente. He and I were doodling and sharing verses to bridge the language barrier about what the church (people of God) are to do and our responsibility as pastors. We shared verses like: Matt. 16:18; Matt 28:18-20; Acts 1:8. Though limited by language our excitement was evident as we recognized that God has given us a shared view of our roles: to equip and encourage people to "go" and share the grace and truth of Christ; and secondly allow Christ to build the church. Too often we reverse those eternal truths for our own convenience and sense of accomplishment.
So back to my evening conversation, my reply was (not surprisingly), "why do you ask that question?" Then we were able to talk about past hurts he'd experienced and a view that many churches and church leaders are only interested in attendance figures and budgets, throw in a few baptisms and you have a good year and that's how you determine who the good Christians are. Like earlier in the day, we came to the realization that many churches have reversed Jesus' instructions to us. The road back is long and twisted because so much needs be unlearned and confessed but it is possible through a long term commitment according to the impulse of Jesus.
By the way, my answer, " I wouldn't refer ti myself or others that way; I prefer the term 'follower of Jesus' because it reminds me that in my imperfection He is working in and through me and that my objective is to keep His example and truth as my own. There is no goodness apart from Him and there is no Christian without Christ."
Our conversation isn't done yet, I'd welcome your input, how would you respond?