The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, has warned the Church of England that it must concentrate on spreading the Christian message if it is to overcome rising cynicism in British society.
Dr Sentamu claimed that the clergy risked becoming entangled in internal politics such as the ongoing row over the ordination of homosexual priests.
"The Church has not been very good at clearly spelling out what the message of Jesus is about. We have been indulging into a lot of debates which I do not think really have much to do sometimes with the Christian faith," he told the Today programme.
"It is a corporate failure of the Church, not actually doing the ministry of Jesus Christ out in the world. All of us as members of the body of Christ need to do more.
"What we should be about is telling people that God in Jesus has come in a human form, died, rose again and his presence, in terms of the spirit, actually transforms lives."
Against a backdrop of declining church attendance in Britain, the Anglican Communion worldwide has struggled to adopt a common line on the issue of homosexuality.
But Dr Sentamu denied that his comments were any sort of criticism of the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.
Click here to run an energy price comparison, and see if you could be paying less for your gas and electricity.