Just a little closer... One appeal of any public function or get-together, where you don't know anyone attending, is the warm inviting nature of the strangers you have yet to meet. At least, that's what one hopes. You take a deep breath, pull open the door and step inside. Well, someone is usually there to open the door for you at church.
In a church atmosphere, where sometimes the last reason for attending is because you want to, the parishioners are the deciding factor as to whether or not a newcomer is going to return. When my parents divorced, few people we encountered at the numerous churches we visited as a (broken) family really understood what it was like to have the family unit dissolve. And fewer still, it seems, were able to do more than simply understand—to give that which was required to rebuild one's soul.
"He restoreth my soul" (Psalm 23:3)
Okay, so the above verse says that God is the one who restores one's soul. Whew! Because I sure don't know how to do that. I know (barely) what it took to get myself back to a hundred percent (or whatever percent I'm operating at now). One ingredient is time. I hold up my hand, counting off on my fingers. I suppose another ingredient would be hope. Hope can be a pretty amorphous thing. Hope is good, but hope must necessarily be rooted in something, really someone. Namely, Jesus. "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul" (Hebrews 6:19). Hope is essential, but what about the substance needed to nurse a hurting soul back to health? I know what will hinder the convalescence: a cold shoulder. A person who attends a church looking for something as-yet undetermined is not likely to return unless they sense warmth in the atmosphere. And what if your church was the last resort for them? It is essential that we as Christians are attentive to the unspoken, unformed needs of the strangers in our congregation. Social mores might prevent us from delving into a person's business right off the bat. But there's nothing keeping us from intimating to others the strong warmth of the Holy Spirit ("the comforter" John 14:26) that let's them know they're loved, accepted, appreciated, validated, etc. The list goes on. Everything God gives us through our struggles is intended to spill over to others to help them along in their journey. And the warmer we get to God, the warmer we'll be toward others.
"If you want to get warm you must stand near the fire" C. S. Lewis Mere Christianity
"For our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:29)
Let the gravity of God pull you closer.