We’re connected to God and His ultimate wisdom, yet others sometimes view us as foolish. We represent a faith that people urgently need, but too often, they refuse to take us seriously. That’s because we’re prone to making dumb mistakes that render our witness ineffective.


Here are some dumb mistakes Christians make – and how you can avoid making them yourself:


* Dropping out of church. Don’t be one of those Christians who is missing in action. Make sure you’re participating in worship services and other church activities regularly, so you can keep growing and others can see that you’re serious about your faith.


* Chronically complaining. Rather than focusing on the negative, ask God to help you to see the positive. Make it a habit to notice your blessings, thank God for them, and think and act in positive ways. Ask God to help you be content, peaceful, and joyful – no matter what your current circumstances. Whenever you have a problem with particular person or group of people (such as church leaders), go directly to them to work it out rather than just blabbing about it to others. Try to encourage other people on a regular basis, through kind words and actions.


* Taking without giving. Instead of taking everything the church has to offer without giving anything back, commit to volunteering your time and energy to help out in at least one of your church’s ministries. Know that contributing however you can – even in small ways – will make a big difference in your congregation.


* Misbehaving. Be sure to practice what you preach. When you say you believe something, yet act in ways that are inconsistent with that belief, you become a hypocrite who turns people away from the faith. Ask God to help you life every part of your life with integrity. Don’t participate in any activities that you’d be embarrassed about if other people in your church knew you were engaging in them.


* Winning people to the church rather than to Christ. Remember that the reason why you’re trying to reach people with your faith isn’t simply so they can join your church – it’s so they can have a relationship with Christ. Focus on Him, whether or not the people you’re reaching end up worshipping in your particular church or not. When you discuss your church, make sure you’re not giving people unrealistic expectations about what to expect there. Recognize that just joining a church won’t magically make people’s problems disappear. Be honest about the fact that church, like any other place, is full of difficult and unpleasant people and that the church someone joins isn’t always going to be like it is currently, because change is inevitable. Emphasize that Christ (not the church) is the way, the truth, and the life.