It seems everyone has an opinion on the state of the American church. Writing books on what’s wrong with the church has become somewhat of a fad. Many writers tell personal and painful stories of wounding at the hands of the church.

            I don’t doubt their sincerity. But the church has always been populated with imperfect people making flawed decisions. That’s not what’s new. And that’s not likely to change.

            Besides, the church as we know it has worked quite well for a certain swath of the population. These people comprise part of the 17 to 30 percent of the population who regularly attend church services.

            So, what characteristics identify these particular people? Several words that start with the letter A may help describe those who currently attend typical church services. In this blog, we’ll look at the first A: Audience-Oriented.

            Audience-Oriented. They appreciate a good presentation from the stage. They prefer to passively listen while the paid professionals on the stage do the work. Similar to theater-goers, they may judge the “performance” based on how well they were entertained or engaged.

      These “A” factors help to explain the slice of the population that regularly attends weekly church services. Church, as they know it, is working for them. They are content with the status quo.

      But what about the growing majority that doesn’t regularly attend church services? Why don’t these same “A” factors work for them? It seems that what attracts the church-going set may actually repel or at least disinterest the majority. Let’s look at each factor again from their perspective.

      Audience-Oriented. Though most people enjoy a good show, they don’t view their spirituality as a spectator activity. Even though they may long for God, they say they don’t see the need to sit in an auditorium and watch professional religious people perform rehearsed presentations.

      Next time, we’ll look at the next A—Anonymous.