Mak had this to say over at Swinging from the Vine:

One of the things I’ve discovered in my time in the church world is that church friendships are almost exactly like work relationships, except people see each other even more infrequently. This applies perhaps even more so to leaders – even amongst each other. Which means you’re “friends” or at least “friendly” as long as you go to the church. Leave the church and you can pretty much bet that’s the last you’ll see of anyone at the church. I’m guilty of contributing to this and participating in it as much as any one but it must stop.

This has been a contention of mine for some time with churches I have attended. I see people for a couple of hours on Sunday then don’t see or hear from anyone during the week. Now when I attended Northside, there was a very good reason for this: I had a forty minute commute to church, and I wasn’t the only one. It’s hard to be a part of each other’s lives when everyone is so spread out.

It’s one of the reasons I am planting a church. I want to not only plant a church, but start a community here in the South Loop. I want people who live here to worship and minister in their zip code. I am very parish oriented. I think it comes from growing up in a small town. Even living in cities I attended churches I lived close to. I want to create a worshiping community where people I go to church with, I see in the grocery store or Target, and pass on the street because we live in this area. Living in the same area will also promote organic community. It’s easier for people to get together for dinner or coffee if they don’t have to commute 40 minutes one way first. Forming small groups should happen more naturally as well.

Mak, I also agree with your post about Christians needing friends outside of the church they attend. This is doubly so if you are on staff or the pastor. But that will have to be another post because I need to go get supper on.