A "Mistress Church"....interesting thought isn't it? This is something I can speak of regarding the church I pastor but I am sure many others pastor a "mistress church." When someone ends up not being satisfied in their relationship it can sometimes end up with the person finding their needs being met in other ways...perhaps a mistress. This is in no way the correct way to handle things...but none the less in this sick world we live in...these things happen.
The same can happen in the church world. I will speak from my own experience but am quite sure I share the same view with other lead (senior) pastors. In the church realm it is totally cool if one church is having a guest speaker and someone from another church to visits. Maybe the woman's ministry of another church is doing a special event and has invited other churches to join...AWESOME! The trouble comes when now this person who visited once or twice is attending a Sunday here and there. What usually ends up happening is this person will only show up now and again, maybe throw a few bucks at it for the good time and leave. Over time the person visiting will begin to tell me how much they dislike their church. I recall a time some practice was going on at our church which involved people from another church. There were some items that I needed to pick-up so I went to church to grab them. It was almost 45 minutes later I got to leave because this person was just bashing their home church and telling me what freedom and joy we have at Radiant Fellowship. Another time was when a senior citizen stopped me and began to cry because they felt their church was going down hill quick. He proceeded to tell me he saw such joy and passion at Radiant Fellowship. In his words though "I could never leave because of what others would think about me." This person no doubt is a pillar of that church. Honestly, this saddens me when people like this do that sort of thing. Radiant Fellowship (and I am sure other churches in this scenario) seems to be the place where so many want to use what we have to offer but that is as far as it goes.
The reason this makes me sad is for some reason we get in this mindset that I am locked in at this place. Even if a person is not being spiritually fed and complains about it the whole time during lunch after church....they are like a dog that returns to its vomit. The only reason I can think of as to why people stay in something they don't like is that they may have hopes that it will change. Worst yet, the troubles and drama at their church has so become a part of who they are that if they move to a church free of that garbage that they will feel lost. In other words they kind of enjoy it. It saddens me when people get into these slumps...they feel the church needs them there to make it through. Trust me...if there is that much complaining and unhappiness coming from you...it would probably be best to leave. If you don't think they can make it without you...ask yourself this question. The church has been going on how long before you got there? I am quite sure they will be fine without you...especially because rotten attitudes are contagious.
There is so much joy attending a church where you are free to be who you are and the good things to talk about FAR outweigh the negative things. I remember at one point in my ministry in a different city when I would lead someone new on their faith journey...I ended up referring them to a neighboring church because of the complaining I was doing about the church I was a part of. Now that I am in a church that breathes freedom and joy....it is the best place in the world to be. No matter what church that may be.