They arrive, join in, seem to settle in well. They smile when you talk to them, they nod when you say Christian stuff. They talk about their last church in favourable terms.
There’s two opposing things you need to assume:
- Assume they’re Christian if they’re giving that impression.
Most people who are “seeking” or checking out Jesus will give some indication of that. If they don’t they either don’t want you to know or they are Christian and just haven’t said, “Oh… and just so you know… I’m a Christian”.
- Assume they’re not a Christian until they’ve made it clear
Just because they can go-with-the-flow and talk the talk doesn’t mean they’ve given themselves to Jesus. They might have been in churches for years! They might have hung around Christians and picked up the lingo. You just can’t tell.
The danger is assuming one over the other. Rather, there’s a tension there to manage. Again and again I’ve been suprised by new people at church… everyone else thinks they’re Christian… they come to so much stuff! But then you just ask them how they decided to first become a Christian… we’ve had people come straight out and say, “Oh, I’m not a Christian!”
So, don’t assume they’re all non-Christians, and don’t assume they’re all Christians either.