Meats and Sweets
I've decided that there are two kinds of church-goers. Pastors, leaders and churches have to understand this. First of all, there is the family dining-room type. This type of church-goer doesn't consider herself a church-goer, but a member, a part of the family. She believes that being faithful and committed to one community is important and necessary for the quality of the life of that community. She considers the church community her spiritual family, and to go to another church would be the equivalent of having an affair. It would be a sign of unfaithfulness and spiritual lust. She might visit another church, but only when it is a public event like funeral or wedding or something of that sort. She might go to the odd conference, but she'll be very selective on which ones she attends. Then there is the other kind: the restaurant type. This type of church-goer will probably find a church that he will consider his main church or even his home church. But no one church is going to meet all of his needs. Not any one church is enough. He doesn't consider going to another church spiritually adulterous, but ecumenically support and spiritually necessary for his own health. He might go to one church to get the meat for his spiritual diet. But he'll go to another church to get his dessert. And he will probably go to any other church or conference in town to get his treats, especially when there's a guest speaker. I've been a pastor of both types. I've realized that even though I thought I was providing all the nutrients necessary for a healthy spiritual life, not everyone thought so. They might have appreciated what I offered, but it wasn't enough. I was often informed that I served meats but no sweets. Some never realized that for me to offer their desired dessert menu would have been radically at odds with the main course I offered. Some people were satisfied with what I offered. Some weren't. That's just a reality every pastor must face.