I’ve been reading, Direct Hit by Paul Borden (Abingdon Press, 2006) and I will be writing a book review in a few days but in the meantime here’s a taste of what he’s on about:
Despite all the rhetoric, most congregations do not want to pay the cost of change. They usually want the results of change but are unwilling to do what it takes to get the results. The price is too high.
To begin with, nearly everyone in the U.S.A. (and in many other countries) comes to church as a consumer asking the question: “What will you do for me?” The consumer does not ask what he or she can do to help. The consumer expects to have expectations met; if they are not met, a consumer will either go somewhere else or will shop shopping. Consumers who are already in the congregation are not going to change to meet the needs of the consumers yet to come, as long as their needs are being met. Most small congregations are closed small groups. In these groups, social and some spiritual needs are met for those already inside, but there is little or not interest to reach out to those outside the group.
Another reason congregations do not want to pay the cost of change is that most believe God created the Church, and their congregation in particular, for them. … They do not see their congregation as a mission outpost designed to reach lost people; rather, they believe it exists as a place where the converted may be safe from the larger, evil world. Pg. 96-97