What’s wrong with the Church? Why is it that less and less people are going to Church these days? Is it because society no longer feels the need to be seen as ‘being good?’ Or is it because ‘the church’ as a body (particularly the Christian church) simply doesn’t know how to speak to people anymore? What do YOU think is wrong with the church?

I’ve been reading a Xanga of a pastor from Texas, a guy who, on the face of things, seems like ‘a good bloke’ as we would say here in England. Admittedly he does keep a loaded Glock 9mm in his closet, as well as a 12 guage shotgun and a 30-06 rifle, but he lives in the wild wild west where gunfights are common place and a part of everyday life (according to his friend). But aside his need for firepower, ‘Deputy David’ as i like to call him, seems like a guy who is at least trying to do ‘God’s great work.’

In a recent post on his Xanga he posed the question to his largely Christian readership ‘what would the perfect church look like to you?’ It’s an interesting question to ask in the ‘land of the free’ where the religion of consumerism outstrips all others, and where vast shopping malls seem to have become cathedrals of the new age.

The answers he got were interesting, if not unexpected. Some nice ideas were raised by church attending Christian folk, but nothing ground-breaking. I pondered the question myself, wondering what indeed would be ground-breaking? How could church as we understand it evolve? I drew a blank.

I don’t know much about the history of the Christian church. By that I don’t mean Jesus and the Bible, I mean the church as in the people who get up early on Sunday morning to sing songs and listen to a sermon. But it seems to me that in the last 100 years or so at least, the formula of ‘church’ hasn’t really changed that much. I might even argue that the little change there has been is out of step with the way in which society and culture has changed in the same time period.

So while Deputy David, the gunslinging Texas pastor, might be curious as to what makes a church perfect for you, I’d like to ask you what makes the church not so perfect for you. In other words I’d like to know why it is that you DON’T go to Church. Not because I want to preach some hellfire and damnation you understand, I’m just trying to get a grip on what it is that prevents so many of us from finding our place in the modern church, however modern that may or may not be.

The formula of a Sunday morning service with singing, notices then a sermon (or ‘message’ if you use the modern term) is tried and tested and serves the church well. But aside the introduction of drums, electric guitars, a relaxed dress code and the occasional tattooed pastor, has anything really changed in church?

If Christians believe that the unsaved are destined to “burn in eternal hell” surely the church should be looking for something that serves those people rather than itself. The concept of a Sunday service seems, to me at least, rather outdated, insular, and uninviting. It feels like flat-pack fellowship to me. Quick and easy to set up, a bit cumbersome and awkward at times, often coated in an attractive polished veneer, but ultimately disposable.

The doors of the church may well be open wide, but it looks like these days it’s going to take more than the offer of a free cup of coffee and eternal life to get people to walk in.