So, here’s a radical idea for you. What if every church had a way for unhappy people to find another church where they’d be happier? Churches would have a catalogue that included the names of leaders, ministry descriptions, and links to websites for other local churches. Church leaders would help these seekers find a congregation that fit them better.
In a perfect world, this wouldn’t be necessary, because people would be mature enough to stay or go based on reasons better than “happiness.” But, taking us as we are, if the desire is to lead people into a dynamic relationship with Christ, we have to realize that the Smith family may respond better to Church A than Church B in reaching that goal (totally random name; any similarity to a real situation is the work of the Holy Spirit).
In doing so, we would accept that each congregation is part of The Local Church, rather than each congregation being The Local Church.
We’d be more intentional about networking with other churches and being less of an island to ourselves. We and They would become more Us.
We’d humbly make use of each others’ strengths while covering each others’ weakness, without shame, pride, or an air of superiority.
Rifts and offenses between leaders and their congregations could be dealt with from within a more connected community.
Issues that divide us could be reduced, while defining what issues are worth being divided over.
Our differences are important, and those differences are enhanced rather than minimized as we co-operate rather than compete. We need each other to function as The Church. The world needs us to be The Church. God is leading us to be The Church, together.