Yesterday I re-posted a blog I wrote back in 2009 where I wrote this.
The church has such a bad reputation that entire book, unChristian, was written about the churches bad rap in the United States. Most Christians who are attempting to connect with the lost feel a need to either justify or distance themselves from the actions of other believers. We’ve drifted so far from the early church that most churches are lucky if they have a neutral reputation in their community.
If you only trusted mass media, George Barna books, online comment sections, and many statistics which pastors use regularly, you’d think Christianity was on the verge of extinction and “Christian” was a bad word. Fortunately, it’s simply not true.
I recently read a book called Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites…and Other Lies You’ve Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths From Secular and Christian Media. It’s a great read for all preachers. It will make you never want to use statistics ever again in a sermon. The title sums things up pretty well, both Christians and non-Christians have been spreading some remarkably inaccurate statistics about the state of the church, divorce rates in the church, and much much more.
Evangelical church attendance rates aren’t dropping radically.
Evangelicals aren’t a hated minority.
Churches actually have a pretty good reputation overall, and people consider them to have a positive influence. If you compare the church in America to the New Testament, certainly we have a long way to go (but so did all the churches which Paul wrote letters to). If you compare us to what you hear from pastors and the media, we’re doing much much better.
If you can handle a book of straight statistical analysis, I would recommend you check out this book.