They quietly walk into church, say little, look a bit detached, and leave quickly when the service concludes.

These church attendees are Present In Body Only. They may be counted as members of a church’s flock, but their hearts, minds and souls are not engaged by what’s happening at church. They are among the legion of church attendees who, according to George Barna, never experience God at church. They attend out of a sense of duty, or to accompany a family member, or simply out of habit. For PIBOs, the church worship experience—even at grandly produced services—is a spiritual yawn. The worship recipe (half upfront monologue and half sing-along) in use at churches small and large  does not stir the PIBOs.

Many church leaders may not recognize these people as PIBOs–or care that their hearts and minds are not in the room.  Because PIBOs satisfy the score that leaders track–head count–they serve their purpose just as they are.

In these days of declining church attendance, the PIBOs give us one more reason to question how we’re taking the Good News to today’s changing culture. No one is looking for religion. But they’re very curious about a real relationship with God.

William Paul Young, author of “The Shack” talked about the emptiness of religion in this week’s Lifetree Cafe.