Dr. David W. Manner is the Associate Executive Director for the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists. He blogs at http://kncsb.org/blogs/dmanner . You can follow him on Twitter: @dwmanner.
Most potential homebuyers decide whether or not to check out the interior of a house or take it seriously as a home prospect for their family based on its curb appeal…how it looks from the street. Statistics show that a positive curb appeal brings more people through the front door and gives them a healthy first impression. Conversely, poor curb appeal excludes certain people from looking further and those who actually do look will automatically discount its value.
Whether the perception from culture is justified or not, their view from the street is that we in the evangelical church are like the grouchy old man who is constantly yelling, “Get out of my yard!” Religiosity topics we assume as absolutely necessary to the Christian debate such as Calvinism vs. Arminianism; Complementarianism vs. Egalitarianism; Republican vs. Democrat; Traditional vs. Contemporary; Conservative vs. Moderate; Mega-Church vs. Micro-Church; Connectional vs. Missional; and even Organ vs. Guitar are all contributing to our poor cultural curb appeal.
The Evangelical Church is losing ground with culture when we spend an inordinate amount of our time publicly debating issues that in the end won’t really matter. There is value and even necessity for healthy biblical, theological, doctrinal and even historical debate. But if those debates continue to depreciate our curb appeal and cause culture to drive on by, then maybe it’s time to consider a home makeover.
10 Ways The Evangelical Church Has Lost Its Curb Appeal
- We unite around what we are against rather than what we are for.
- Dogma instead of the church is now at the top of our organizational chart.
- Those formerly inclusive guardrails are now exclusive litmus tests.
- We have blurred the lines between commandments and amendments.
- We claim theologically and philosophically to be racially diverse, yet still segregate practically and relationally.
- Fundamentalism has become our primary method of evangelism.
- We no longer encourage or even allow critical thinking.
- Friendly fire is contributing to our net loss.
- We appear to hate the practices of culture more than we love the people in it.
- We are justifying meanness in the name of guarding religiousterritory.