David L. Hansen writing in The Lutheran finds out why people don’t go to church:
Ask any group in your church: “Why do people not come to worship? What keeps people away from church?” You might hear:
• “We need a better youth program.”
• “We have to have a different style of worship service.”
• “We need to advertise.”
• “If only we had a nursery for young children.”
These are the answers that church people give when they try to figure out why people don’t go to church. Friends, we could not be more wrong.
I recently spent a week using social media to “listen” to people who do not go to church — listening to their explanations for why they stay away. I didn’t argue with them. I didn’t defend the church. I just listened. And what I heard broke my heart.
The No. 1 thing that keeps people away from the church is the people who are in the church.
It’s not that people outside the church have low expectations of Christians. It’s the opposite. They expect us to actually live out the things we proclaim on Sunday. They expect us to love our neighbor, care for the least of these and love our enemies.
They have high expectations for us, and we have disappointed them. Instead they have been insulted, hurt and broken by us.
Programs are at the bottom of the list for why people don’t come to church.
h/t to Friends of Jake