This came across my mind again as I was reading the book UnChristian. On page 13, Dave Kinnaman states the following:
Let's face it - what people think becomes their reality, and although we may not deserve all those images, some of their thoughts about us may be accurate.
In the book, he is talking about individuals outside of the church and their perception of the church.
For me, one of the areas that I think that this comes into play is the "friendly atmosphere" that the church has or does not have. We, as churches and Christians, may believe that we are friendly. But, if those outside have the perception that we are unfriendly; that is their reality and thus; we need to "address" an issue.
What do you think are some of the perceptions facing your church and with it being their reality; what are you doing to change that perception or reality.