You may have a unique perspective on this due to your missionary work in another country yet you receive questions and comments from all over America. Your willingness to speak the truth and gift of discernment may help also.
I go to a fairly small church, just large enough for a full time pastor, in the Bible Belt. Our pastor is not perfect, neither is his congregation including me, but he preaches the
Gospel. I sometimes believe I see God working in the lives of members but I seldom see Him working in the church itself. Apathy seems to be a contagious disease for which no remedy seems available other than application of the Word in my daily life.
It’s almost as if the Glory of the Lord has departed from the church. I’m really concerned as I see people I believe are believers seem to be reducing their commitment steadily and I fight the trend myself with the only successes seeming to come privately but the life in the church seems to be flickering more weakly all the time. Some wish to blame the pastor but I don’t agree, I think the reasons go deeper. Is this the great falling away or am I just in a pocket of apathy? Your input would be greatly appreciated.
Your impression may be partly due to your own deepening faith, or it may be a sign of the times. There’s no doubt that the middle ground is disappearing. True believers are slowly but surely becoming more serious about their faith, while those who are Christians in name only are moving in the other direction. The Glory of the Lord can not depart from the true Church, but the Church may turn out to be a lot smaller than some have thought.