“When we do this we become like the Pharisees, who were more concerned about how they were viewed than who they actually were.”
Great article by Mike Leake.
A good metric for whether or not this is happening is the phrase, “we want to be known as a church that…” or “I want to be known as someone who…” And fill in the blank with anything that sounds good: prayer, generosity, grace, whatever. When we start building our own reputation using the tools of Christ, we’re no better than Pharisees.
I’ve used the word “winsome” before to describe how church should be. And I do think it can take effort. A church might need to repent for not caring about the unbeliever or broken-hearted who may walk in on a Sunday morning. This behavior might not even be cognitive, just bad habits or “traditions.”
But in general, it ultimately comes down to our belief in and participation in the gospel. The work of Christ. The seeking and saving of that which is lost. The beginning of the restoration of all things.