Been thinking a lot lately about understanding culture and how to reach people who are far from God. I read a lot of books, but I cannot find one that is better at explaining the barriers between our current culture and the Christian church, than No Perfect People Allowed, by John Burke. I have read this book at least 3 times and it is a regular reference book. This guy has some incredible insight into understanding the unchurched.
He lays out five struggles that people have that effect their response to the the Christian faith: trust, tolerance, truth, brokenness, and aloneness. There are deeper issues within a persons soul like the need for relationship, meaning and hope, but the struggles that John talks about are crucial to that conversation.
When I read John's responses in the book to people level some of these struggles at him, he seems to have some great responses. He probably has a few not-so-great responses too, that didn't make the book, but you see over and over that the right response to these struggle opens door for people to begin a journey of faith.
What has struck me this morning is that a church must plan to deal with these struggles. Talk about them. Develop a culture around how you would handle them. Most people will never get the chance to ask the pastor one of these questions, so it is our responsibility to build these responses into the culture of our community of faith.