In a society where the term “Christian” increasingly has negative connotations, Addison Bevere is breathing new life into the word “saint,” an ancient term he believes is key to unlocking the meaning, identity, and purpose many believers crave.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Bevere, COO of Messenger International, an organization that impacts millions of people in over 150 countries through its various initiatives, admitted he “hasn’t enjoyed” calling himself a “Christian” in nearly two decades.
“I’m not ashamed of Jesus, but I don’t like the stereotypes and labels and stigmas that have attached themselves to what it means to be a Christian. It doesn’t resonate with me,” he shared. “It’s not that Christian is a bad word, but for me, it’s become something that feels cheap. When you Google ‘Christians,’ so often you’ll see words like ‘judgmental, hypocritical, backward, out of touch with reality.’”
“It almost feels like the world looks at Christians and says, ‘We tried Christianity. We tried this pathway and it didn’t work, so now we’re pursuing something else, a secular, ‘do-it-yourself’ spirituality.’ My response is, we never tried it, really. The Gospel message is big enough for our big world.”
Five years ago, Bevere, son of popular ministry leaders John and Lisa Bevere, was reading a book where the author made mention of saints, describing them as “people who participate in the mystery of the final day.”
“That,” he said, “wasn’t the picture of a saint I had in mind. I always associated ‘saint’ with stained glass windows and being a part of a special, elite, unattainable group.”
But according to Bevere, the term “Christian” is used only three times throughout Scripture, whereas the Greek word hagios — translated as saints — is used more than 60 times. This, he said, indicates something special about the archaic term.
“As I read the Bible, I wondered, ‘Why are so many people identifying as saints? Why would Paul address entire letters to saints?’” he said. “I realized that the idea of a saint isn’t something that belongs to people once they die; it’s something that identifies and energizes and gives meaning and purpose. It's a prophetic declaration. It’s how God works. He sees us as we should be. He loves us along the spectrum.”
According to Bevere, a saint is “someone whose life is marked by a hope and a purpose that astound our world and point people to the One who is life.”
“I believe,” he added, “that when we view ourselves as saints, it's lifechanging. We find the meaning and purpose that so many of us crave. I believe that until we discover the life we’re created for, we’re going to find ourselves frustrated with existence and religion. It’s time we re-think what it means to be a saint.”
In his new book Saints: Becoming More Than “Christians,” Bevere uses Scripture and personal stories to unpack what it means to be a saint and invites readers into the wonder of following Jesus as God intends. He challenges readers to reimagine what it means to follow Christ as they journey through a compelling retelling of ancient wisdom.
“For me, it was going back to the New Testament and really look at the person Jesus, why He came and chose to reveal God to us as He did,” Bevere said. “Jesus’ favorite subject was the idea of the Kingdom of God. He talked about it more than anything else. He calls us to be agents of reconciliation for our world and to our world.”
“The Gospel message is supposed to cover every space and subvert cultural norms and reconcile people,” he stressed. “We’ve lost sight of that. We’ve been content to stay in our church space and make Christianity a mere reflection of that pursuit.”
But the Kingdom of God “intersects at relationship.”
“That’s where meaning and significance happens,” he said, explaining that to be a saint is to be "plunged into God’s original design for humanity."
One of Satan’s greatest tactics, the author said, is “convincing us that meaning is in anywhere but the present.’
“He doesn’t want us to wake up in the present and see that this moment is the most significant thing,” he said. “The future and past is God’s, all we have is the present. If he can steal the present from us, he can undermine our work and sense of value and frustrate our efforts.”
Far too many Christians have a “small view” of both themselves and of God, Bevere said. “God’s grace breaks that down and pulls off those layers and masquerades and reveals us as He sees us. When we see ourselves the way God sees us, we see the world the way He sees it.
“We need to change the way we see ourselves so we can see the world differently.”
Viewing oneself as a “saint” is “only possible as we humble ourselves,” Bevere argued.
"It’s the proud who can’t see themselves the way God sees them. As we dive into what a saint is, we find it has everything we crave, undertones of meaning, purpose, and belonging," he said.
Through his book, Bevere said he hopes readers discover that “everything they do is sacred” and learn to “see themselves within God’s greater story of redemption and reconciliation.” It’s an invitation to toward understanding God-given purpose, identity, and loving a fallen world more fully.
“Ever since the enlightenment, we’ve forfeited so much to the secular world,” he said. "We need to reclaim this space. The Apostle Paul was writing to gentiles, to people who didn’t belong, and calling them ‘saints.’ He was telling them, ‘Your everyday, mundane life is significant and full of purpose.’ Whether we are parents, CEOs, mechanics, or wherever we find ourselves, I want people to see their lives as meaningful and valuable.
“I want people to realize how being a follower of Jesus intersects and gives meaning to our secular lives. So much is being stolen from people and it’s because we have a small view of God and the Gospel. Saints are people who refuse to not be astonished by God. They stand in awe of Him and go into the world and reveal His goodness and power."