I'm thinking a lot at the moment about the particular challenges that go with growing and leading a radical church in comparatively affluent suburbia. A couple (early 40s, 2 children) in our church asked me a fortnight ago why it is hard to make friends of significant in our church, for people in their age bracket.
As I've thought about this I've concluded that there are a lot of factors that come from our surrounding environment. Our area tends to be devoid of 20-somethings. They leave the area to go to university andcan't afford to move back until they are in their 30s, with children (and children's routines), busy professional lives, long commutes and families who live at a distance.
My friends have a hankering for the pop-in, being involved with each other's lives, discipling other and enjoying spiritual fellowship and friendship of depth culture they knew in previous years. But our environment works against it. That is the kind of friendship and fellowship that comes very naturally when you are unencumbered and in your 20s, but very hard when you are encumbered and in your 30s - which is a primary demographic in our area and in our church. People come into our church with their lives already full and their routines already established - and however conscientious they are about participating in the life of the church there is an almost inevitable sense of it being an addition on top of existing demands.
I'm not sure what the answer is. I know what the temptation is - to multiply meetings as a substitute for real community, or in the hope that community emerges from them. But for people to then feel the pressure of "just another meeting" when life is already so full. Maybe one answer is to scrap some meetings but for some of us to start to deliberately invite people into our homes (unusual round here, I think) - but not for another meeting!