I while ago I wrote a post that was, in part, written in frustration. I received some criticism for that post particularly from the church I was in the process of leaving because they saw my article as an attack on, as they put it, "the bride of Christ". I didn't mean it to be taken that way and fortunately others have written or spoken to me in order to tell me they appreciated it. But in all fairness I do have a particular way of writing that sometimes comes across as less than loving. That post can be found here.
Recently I came across another post that was much better written and I think hit the nail on the head. That post can be found here, and I encourage you, even implore you, to please read it.
The church my family was a part of is full of very loving people who also love Jesus with all their hearts. I'm not just saying that. I spent over ten years with them and I know it is true. However, like many modern churches, they have become quite focused on being hip and approachable by the unsaved and unchurched. They have also become very focused on what these days is called "outreach". There is nothing inherently wrong with the desire to reach people for Christ. But what I discovered is that if approached the wrong way these good desires can easily lead to a lack of "inreach". That is, people who are already following Christ and especially those who have been for a long time, are assumed to be o.k. and left to fend for themselves. It wasn't until my wife and I went through some really hard and dark times that we discovered that we were pretty much on my own. I am certain that for a few people they thought they were reaching out to us. But because of how we've been taught to "do church", the efforts were much to little to late (I apologize in advance to my dear friends, but I am speaking from my perspective and my heart).
There also appears to be, in many of these churches, confusion as to what Sunday worship is intended for. Sunday worship is really for the true worshiper of God. Biblically and historically Sunday was never intended to be evangelistic in the literal sense of that word. But because of our misguided understanding of outreach we turn Sunday into a crusade of sorts and forget the hurting masses right in our own pews. This is the result of a church model based upon modern evangelism paradigms that themselves are often based on modern business and entertainment practices and not truly biblical or historical.
The above post by Kimberli is a perfect case in point. It is a very sad and thus difficult article to read but needed in today's consumerism oriented churches. It is too easy to have a form of godliness but completely lacking any real power; the power to see, help and heal those in our own midsts. If we manage to get people through our doors and onto our membership rosters only for them do discover that the people in the church are just as lonely, hurting and depressed as those outside it can we be surprised when they leave or, in our case, simply fade away?