critique that church people hate to hear. The hypocrite thing.
It’s everywhere. Research shows that 85 percent of the public
views churchgoers as hypocritical. Church people bristle at the
accusation. “Of course we’re hypocrites,” one said. “Everybody–not
just Christians–is a hypocrite. Eventually we all say one thing
and do another.”
But that’s not really what the public is saying about the
church. They’re reacting to something deeper and more disturbing.
They’re reacting to a lack of humility. They smell a foul odor of
false superiority. They smell it when we give pat answers to
complex issues. They smell it when we elevate the preacher or
teacher onto a pedestal of omniscience. They smell it when we talk
ten times more than we listen.
This hypocrite thing is one of the major findings in our new
book, Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church
Anymore. To overcome this negative public perception–and
three others–we suggest “four acts of love that will make your
church irresistible.” To counteract the hypocrite thing, we
advocate Genuine Humility.
This is the kind of humility Jesus talked about: “The last shall
be first.” Genuine Humility resists drawing attention to itself. It
is not masked with false humility (“I’m so humbled to see our
church on the Top 100 list”).
Genuine Humility says, “We’re all in this together.” We’re all
struggling along the journey of life. We all stumble. We all have
questions, and doubts, and wonderings about the mind of God. None
of us is more God-graduated than the next. We are all children of
God–rather than officers with escalating ranks.
A GENUINE HUMILITY LIST
So, what might we pursue to become the kind of humble church
Jesus desires? Let me suggest a few simple ways to show Genuine
1. Spend a lot more time listening to real people.
2. Show an eagerness to learn–from people in other walks of life,
of other ages, with other beliefs.
3. Go on a fast from reading or listening to celebrity
4. Admit you don’t have all the answers. Acknowledge the mysteries
5. Resist the temptation to overlord your people with doctrinal
complexity and academic elitism.
6. Open the floor for your people’s thoughts, questions,
discussions and doubts–along with your own.
7. Dedicate more time for your people to publicly share how they’ve
seen God act in their lives.
8. Let other, less eloquent, people pray in services and before
9. Admit your mistakes and shortcomings. Say, “I’m sorry.”
9. Get off the pedestal. Reduce your platitude tweets. Ask people
to call you by your first name. Be a real person.
11. Take down the “Reserved for Pastor” sign.
12. Don’t publish a picture of yourself with a microphone–the
equivalent of a dentist posing with a drill.
Hypocrisy wafts from our insecurity. We so desperately want
people to notice us, respect us, like us, and admire us. But we
must remind ourselves that we are already esteemed and valued by
the biggest and most important audience of all–the Father, Son and
Genuine Humility is a rare commodity today. But when people
detect it, they find it irresistible.
(What do you think? Please leave a comment below. And watch
for our fourth Act of Love in my next post. It’s called Divine
Anticipation. And if you’re filled with anticipation for the whole
book, you may