In preparation for this coming Sunday, I've been doing a lot of thinking about what keeps people away from church. By church, I just mean a bunch of believers gathering on Sunday mornings/evenings (or Friday or Saturday) specifically. [you'd have to consult a panel of theologians to get to the bottom of what keeps people out of Church capital c]
One thing that strikes me anecdotally at least, is that most people don't have too much of a problem with what churches believe. In a few instances yes, views on right to life issues, homosexuality, or evolution might make people angry enough to not come back. But overwhelmingly, these are not topics that are brought up on Sundays...typically, most Christians or "people interested in learning about following Jesus" wouldn't find too much theology to disagree with in most evangelical-type churches in America. It seems to me that many people don't take issues with beliefs but with actions or with style(two very different concepts). "That church just wasn't a friendly place." "They don't have anything for young people there." "The pastor just seemed out of touch with the rest of the world." "All they talked about was money and tithing." "They had the nerve to talk about politics." See what I mean? What are your experiences with people who won't attend or have left churches? Are they fed up with heresy and bad doctrine, or did they not like the music pastor's hair? I don't mean to make light of the reason people choose not to be part of faith communities, some people experience incredible rejection and pain, others just get pissed. But short of having any substantial answers to this question, it does seem that to most people (Bible scholars and seminary students aside) put more emphasis on what we do than on what we believe. If this is even remotely true, what do we do about it?
I could be wrong though. Let me know if I am off in erroneous-tangential land.