“Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters!” (Isaiah 55:1)
We are always glad to meet people who were active and enthusiastic about their faith before they met us, and who didn’t simply go with the flow, but are used to testing things and who want to consistently follow what they have recognised to be right. The decision to follow Jesus shouldn’t be made on the base of an emotional response but should be founded on a rational decision built on rational arguments.
Quite often we have had to accept the sad experience that someone was enthusiastic to begin with but that this initial wave of emotional enthusiasm proved to be no real foundation for Christianity and the person didn’t take the necessary steps to become a disciple. Jesus himself mentions this in Matthew 13:20-21.
“The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.”
An initial fascination is not a sufficient foundation. If a person doesn’t really seek the truth, he won’t find anything in the community to keep him there long term. We ourselves cannot offer him a lasting foundation if he doesn’t want to drink from the fountain of eternal life, which we have found in Christ.
Mr. Kluge knows that “most of the members tell their own personal stories about their search for the Meaning of life up to the point where they made contact with the group.” It is astonishing that Mr Kluge knows this, although he hasn’t had so much as a few words with “most of the members”. Though it is certainly correct that one has to seek in order to find. Most of the members of the Institutional churches are members from the cradle to the grave without having ever really searched. This notion of community is certainly unthinkable for us.
Mr. Kluge is not mistaken in detecting “a need for introspection” visible among those who are interested in talking with us and younger brothers and sisters. It is a good thing when a person focuses on the most important things in life, and considers everything thoroughly, allowing God to be the centre of his life. The danger of introversion also exists, but this finds a counter-balance in the challenges of community life. Mr. Kluge’s representation is very one-sided. He barely knows us, and yet he wants to determine what kind of people we are. There is no such thing as a typical personality of a Christian. We are all different people, introverted, extroverted, loners, others who are more sociable. God binds us together and helps us to mould ourselves according to his image, not losing our personality, but deepening it.
Just how “radical” the change really is when a person gets to know the community depends largely on the background of the brother in question. For some, life in the community is a logical continuation of the life they lived as a Christian already before meeting us. For others, the impulse they received through the brothers was their first contact with Christianity, and we had the privilege of guiding them on the path to faith.
Regarding the claim that we “recruit almost only among youth and young adults.“
We shouldn’t be surprised that people make a decision to follow Jesus at an age when they otherwise set the goals and aims of their lives. Young people are often more flexible, not so set in their ways. But now and then we experience the “miracle” that an older person turns to God. We endeavour for each person, regardless of age, because God’s call is valid for everyone.