I'm currently reading Quitting Church: Why The Faithful Are Fleeing and What To Do About It by Julia Duin. Duin, who works as the religion writer for the Washington Times, interviewed authors and church leaders, and describes the trend of faithful evangelicals who increasingly vote with their feet by leaving their churches. She is also a self-described born-again evangelical, coping with the personal pain of not having a viable and permanent church home.
As I read Quitting Church last evening, I highlighted these two passages:
One of the top reasons people give for their leaving church is loneliness: the feeling--especially in large congregations--that no one knows or cares whether they are there. Midweek small groups are a help in creating connections, but fewer and fewer people are able to fight their way through traffic, wolf down dinner, then carve out several hours in a given evening to be part of a small group. The people I talk with who have found true community and then must leave it, due to family or job reasons, pine for it for the rest of their lives.
Many churches have become like supermarkets or gas stations: totally depersonalized arenas where most people no longer feel a responsibility to be hospitable to the person standing next to them.