Dan Dick consistently offers thought provoking blogs about where the church is and who we need to become.
2 excerpts- 1 as intro & 1 with suggestions:
" In my six-year study of Christians outside the traditional church, almost two-thirds (65%) of respondents cited the hypocrisy and/or inconsistency of word and action as the primary reason they avoid 'church.'"
"So, unrealistic expectations aside, what are some of the implications for the insitutional church? Six helpful and insightful suggestions consistently pop up in conversation with Christian spiritual seekers outside the traditional church:
1) Tone down the holier-than-thou — outsiders often note that church people don’t act saved so much as superior. Just being a church member doesn’t make a person holy; it makes them fortunate. We are not accepted by God so that we can be better than others, but so that we might offer hope and grace to others. Many outsiders don’t feel this.
2) Listen, don’t talk — spiritual seekers are often put off by what one calls the “bumper-sticker theology: Jesus is the Answer” approach many church folks take. It doesn’t seem to matter what questions one comes with. Jesus is the only answer you need, so discussion is discouraged.
3) Be clear about priorities — interestingly, seekers are not put off by big churches with big buildings. They are put off by big churches with big buildings who claim to exist to serve the needs of others. If being big is what a church cares about, it should say so. At least that’s honest. If putting a statue outside the entry is more important than saving a child or feeding a starving person, then say so. If Matthew 25 really means something, then let the outward and visible signs reflect that inward and spiritual commitment.
4) Quit condemning people as sinners — just because their sin isn’t the same as your sin doesn’t give a person the right to act hatefully and unkindly. A recent independent survey of evangelical church goers indicates that of those most staunchly opposing homosexuality, more than 50% have engaged in adulterous extra-marital affairs. Why is one sexual sin worse than another? Fine, condemn actions as sin, but remember that the church is FOR sinners, so everyone should be welcome.
5) Quit playing loose and fast with scripture — many church leaders and preachers pick and choose the parts of the Bible that help them make points, not that gives people full access to the mind and heart of God. Why focus on certain “evils” while ignoring others? Why make such a big deal about sexual conduct when debt, gossip, and selfishness are every bit as dastardly and destructive?
6) Teach humility, not hubris — admit that all fall short of their God-given potential and that we are stronger together than we are struggling to make it on our own. Help people focus on the positives of being a community in Christ instead of on the negatives of allowing “sinners” to taint the group. Actually embrace such concepts as love, kindness, mercy, and grace as cornerstones of behavior. "
See the whole blog and his other insightful thoughts at http://doroteos2.wordpress.com/2009/01/14/building-the-kingdom-one-hypocrite-at-a-time/