I spent this past weekend at The Zoe Conference in Nashville. The theme there was "Closer", and it was supposed to be all about deeper levels of intimacy with God. There seemed to be an assumption made in the planning that most of the people who would attend would feel some distance in their relationship with God. I suppose that's a pretty safe assumption for professional Christians.
It's sad but true: many people who serve churches -- perhaps most people who serve churches -- are starving. They run themselves ragged, going to meetings, dealing with difficult people, doing the "business of church" and feeling generally frustrated by the inefficiency of a model of ministry that fails to produce what it says it wants to produce but is unwilling to change how it does what it does because it is afraid to ask why it does what it does the way it does it.
I've been there. I remember what it feels like. I do not want to minimize or discount anyone's feelings. I am simply wondering what to do about it.
I do not think it is helpful to hear another variation on the "If there's distance between you and God, guess who moved" theme. My wife says that one teaching has probably caused more damage in her spiritual life than any other. I tend to agree.
So, if that's not the best approach, what is?
What do you do when it's not your failure to practice spiritual disciplines or some secret sin in your life that creates distance between you and God?
What do you do when it's the model of ministry you're stuck in that actually drives a wedge between you and God?