I am reading Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink. There is an excellent summary of his ideas on TED talks.
Pink states, contrary to business (and church) practice, external motivators (rewards/punishments) only work in routine, rule-bound tasks. For creative (read "God" – see Genesis 1) tasks, ones which the church is called to, motive must be internal. He states, "If/Then often destroys creativity."
In my words, people free to explore their own gifts and abilities; can turn out some truly wonderful, if not miraculous stuff. Stuff, which rules and routine will never unearth. There is a possibility of sin. But there is a possibility of life as well. God is a forgiver. Risk taking him up on it.
Church is full of tradition. I would not want it any other way. But it also is full of traditionalism – slavish worship of old ways regardless of whether or not they breathe life any more. Traditionalism takes (too much) comfort on familiarity. Since we are sinners and society is broke (per God,) we can only take comfort in God.
Restating Daniel Pinks premise, "Could there be a mismatch of what church does and what 21st century reality and God demands?" I think there is. We are made in the image of God, which means we are naturally made to be creators. Heaven and Hell are external motivators that seldom birth the kind of creativity we need in culture today. The creativity that Christ can use to breathe life back into culture. His image for us is leaven, the life givers.
What would you do if you freely explored your gifts, dreams and talents? Where could God use that? How might lives be transformed by your implementation of your internal motivators. Worry less about punishment. See how much we have to benefit by you being you and exercising that on God's behalf.