Here's a challenging word from Jonny Woodrow over at The Crowded House blog:
If the gospel is about the past and the future then church simply needs to be a gathering outside of life that gets you to look backwards to the cross and what it achieved and forwards to future glory. It becomes a moment in the week where we leave life in the town and go up to the hills to look behind us and out in front of us. Sometimes we’ll invite our non Christian friends up to the hill to see the view; usually on Sundays and evening evangelistic courses. But then we leave that view from the hill and eventually come back down to earth without really knowing how that view shapes our everyday life. And that’s not a surprise because we have missed out the "middle" of the gospel.
I really encourage you to read the rest of the article, The Gospel and Students: Missing something in the middle? It speaks powerfully about the negative impact this sort of "excluded middle Gospel" has on university students in particular, but it also applies to many Christians whose lives are just too busy to engage in true community. Here's one more quotation to ponder:
The gospel with the excluded middle requires no one else in your life. The state of your heart in everyday life is rarely brought into the picture. Your everyday ups and downs and motives and desires and responses to situations don’t appear on your gospel radar as moments for discipleship. You just need a preacher to keep giving you the view of the past and future.