My pastor recently recommended that I read unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity... and Why It Matters. I picked up a copy from the library and finished it a few days ago.
It's an interesting look at how the Christian faith is perceived by both Christians and non-Christians. It's easy for Christians to say that the perception shouldn't matter -- as long as we accurately represent God's word, we're doing the right thing. The truth, however, is that perceptions do matter, and that many Christians simply don't accurately represent God's word. As a result, we're turning off a whole bunch of people who otherwise might be attracted to Christianity.
The book is based on a huge study that was conducted by the Barna group, so there's a lot of discussion about what was learned by the study. It was informative to look at the data they gathered for the study and read their conclusions. The biggest conclusion is that there is a lot of work Christians need to do -- that the current image of Christianity is not representative of what Christianity is supposed to be, and that many people who call themselves Christian are doing a terrible job of both representing and acting on their faith. The book focuses on a handful of negative perceptions that people have about Christians, explains why those perceptions are reasonable for people to have, and presents possible solutions on how to start reversing those perceptions. No surprise here, most of the solutions involve having Christians start acting on their faith instead of merely giving it lip service.
All in all, I'm very glad that I read the book. Especially as we continue to work on the new service at church and seek to get unchurched people involved, I think it's going to be helpful that I read the book. If you're involved in ministry in any capability, I recommend that you give this book a look. It's a very easy read, and you can skip around in the chapters to read them in whatever order you like.