In the book UnChristian, which has been discussed here before, David Kinnaman (President of the Barna Group) reports that between the "Elder" generation (60+) and the "Mosaics" (18-41), the unchurched population has increased three-fold from 12 million to 34 million. Interestingly, this isn't because we aren't sharing the gospel. To the contrary, in the typical year, according to Barna, around 50% of born-again Christians share their faith with unbelievers. That suggests that the problem is not because we're not evangelizing; rather, they just aren't buying what we're selling.
According to Kinnaman's data, one of the major reasons younger generations aren't "buying" is the hypocrisy they observe in Christians. Because "the man and message" don't match, evangelism is viewed as little more than a strategy to gain market share. And, like it or not, (as Iâ€™ve mentioned elsewhere), except for the 9% of Christians who embrace a biblical worldview, their observation is "spot on."
What this tells me is that our failure to reach the unchurched, is the result of focusing on our breadth (church attendance, budget and baptisms) rather than on our depth (spiritual maturity). We can't give to others what we ourselves don't have.
So here are some questions: How does a church gauge its spiritual depth? What measures should it assess and monitor? How should it gather assessment results? And what should it do with the results it gathers?