The lonely crowd: Churches dying due to friendlessness

Sometimes generosity isn’t about money. Sometimes it’s about offering your attention to someone. It’s about being a friend.

By Mike Frost

Becoming and being a friend isn’t easy. It takes intentionality and training, but it might be the most important thing you will ever do for your church.

I’ve lost count of the number of Christians who’ve told me they either stopped attending church or left their church to join another one because they couldn’t make any friends there. They report that the church people were friendly enough. They were hospitable and welcoming. As one person told me, “They’re nice to you, but no one becomes your friend.” It hurts when all that friendliness leads only to friendlessness.

In the 1950s, sociologist David Riesman coined the term “the lonely crowd,” in part to describe collectives of people who live according to common traditions and conforming values, but who barely know or like each other. I fear the church is in danger of becoming just such a lonely crowd.

Read the full story at
Up Next

3 questions for a values-based, impact-driven legacy

Read Now
Editor's note: Stories appearing on NCF's website from third-party contributors are intended for informational purposes only, and we do not endorse or approve the content, services, products, or theological teachings they contain. Any questions or concerns may be directed to the original publisher of such third-party content.

Sign up for our
Saturday 7 email digest

Join close to 50,000 subscribers who receive our email digest of
the week's top stories from We call it Saturday 7.

Read our privacy policy