Sheep In Wolves’ Clothing

Rob Kowalski
7 min readJan 5, 2021

If you haven’t noticed, Church relevance is shrinking rapidly, even pre-Covid. People just don’t find a need for it anymore. Gone are the days where you could just invite someone to church with you on Sunday and expect them to say yes. In fact the single fastest-growing religious group presently are those who check the box next to the word none on national surveys. They make up 20% of the population and most churches have no idea how to reach them. Fewer and fewer people find attending church regularly relevant to their life.

Part of the problem I see is that many Christians after getting into a faith community become so heavenly minded that they are no earthly good. Once they find a relatable group to do life with they lose touch with any of their unchurched friends and start to pick up all the customs and traditions of everyone around them. This isn’t bad except in doing so they become completely unrelatable to people outside the faith.

In 1 Corinthians 9 Paul writes, “To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law, so as to win those under the law… To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

What was he saying here? I became relatable so I could be effective.

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Mathew 10:16 (Jesus)

I have a saying I like to throw around, sheep in wolves clothing. Jesus taught His followers that, to be Christlike and effective, they must combine the craftiness of the serpent with the harmlessness of the dove. How are we doing with that?

According to Christianity Today, “Today on American college and high school campuses, the name most associated with the word Christian — other than Jesus — is not the Pope or Mother Teresa or even Billy Graham. Instead, it’s a goofy-looking guy named Ned Flanders on the animated sitcom known as The Simpsons.” Yes, that is how the majority of the younger generation views Christians.

But the Apostle Paul compares the Christian life to that of a soldier ready for battle, or a well-trained athlete, not to being a dork.

Most churches today are either full of sheep in sheep’s clothing or worse, wolves in sheep’s clothing; but I think God is calling people to be something different. Sheep in wolves’ clothing; Renegades. People that are willing, in order to be effective, to break the stereotypes of what society or even their own preconceived notions tell them a person that walks a certain path has to look or act like.

Jesus constantly broke stereotypes with almost everything that He did, and the religious people opposed Him over and over. We must not be afraid to do the same for the sake of the mission. Yes as a sheep, a follower of Christ, our mandate is to be innocent. But, there’s a difference in being innocent and looking innocent.

We must remember that Jesus built His church on guys like “The Rock”. Not Dwayne Johnson, but the original Rock, Peter. When you study scripture it ain’t hard to see that Peter was a gangster. A thug that cut a dude’s ears off for messing with his friend. Now I’m not advocating physical violence but I think you get my point. Let’s not be polite and well-behaved at the sake of being effective. The saying throwing out the baby with the bath water comes to mind.

I believe that in order to reach the lost more effectively we should all look less like Ned Flanders, and more like Navy SEALs. Isn’t that more attractive? People want to be caught up in a cause that is greater than themselves, not to be nice people that never say bad words and chew with their mouths closed. To do this I believe the way we fight this battle has to change.

In 1755 British Officer at the time George Washington and 1300 soldiers suffered a crushing defeat to 800 French-led troops, of which 75% were Indian. At the time the redcoats were used to fighting in a linear formation. The British Army’s uniforms were elaborate, and their maneuvers were awkward and slow. Their predominantly Indian foes fought from behind rocks and trees. Washington’s soldiers had little chance of victory as they were assailed with a barrage of secret fire from their enemies hidden in the forest. In the end only 500 of the British troops survived the battle. After it was over, Washington reflected on “this kind of fighting,” and the importance of adapting and using individual judgment when armies were dispersed.

British General John Forbes, Washington’s commander, concluded “we must comply and learn the Art of War, from Enemy Indians, or anything else who have seen the Country and war carried on in it.”

The battle conditions and terrain in this new country prompted changes to their tactics and dress. To sum it up, they adapted.

The problem I see is the church today hasn’t adapted. We are trying to fight the way we have for the last several hundred years but our present method suffers from a series of defects. The first century Christians were small groups of people doing life together out of each other’s houses, and they invited people into those environments. They weren’t trying to get people to come to a specific building once a week to hear a timeshare presentation. Which sounds more attractive to you?

Jesus said “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them”. That could be a bingo hall, a bowling alley, or even a bar. Too often we think we have to get people to church, when it is so much easier to invite them to a social environment. Christians today have some hard choices about what, when, where and how they can go and be a light in the darkness.

So my closing question would be, when was the last time you invited an unchurched friend into your inner circle to do something that might actually be appealing to them with the hope of strengthening that relationship and earning the right to either invite them to church or share your faith with them? The keyword here is “appealing”. Asking them over to watch God’s Not Dead 2 with the rest of your small group might not be your best chance of success. I mean the goal is to get them to say yes right? If you are like most, it’s been awhile.

Here’s the challenge, look at your calendar and see what you have coming up that some of your friends from church will be at, that you could invite some unchurched people you know to. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy as long as there’s a couple believers there Jesus will be present also. If you don’t have anything on the calendar, put something on it. Next make a list of two to three people that you could invite and begin praying for them. Lastly, invite them and make sure you are there to meet them when they show up. It’s that easy.

Over the next couple months, I’ll be writing a series of blogs sharing my experiences and observations along with excerpts from GO! in hopes of waking the church up to the reality she is in and sharing a more effective method of reaching people far from God that are more desperate for Him than ever.

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Originally published at on January 5, 2021.



Rob Kowalski

Jesus follower, Author, Unplugged Christian Alphas Founder