In a conversation with a pastor from a large church, he made a comment about traffic and church attendance which I found interesting. This church had another campus, but people who lived near it would travel to the original site for Sunday services, partly because traffic is so light on Sundays that it would only take twenty minutes down the freeway. Yet this meant that involvement with one another during the week – such a crucial thing in discipleship and community, obviously – was made difficult, as the commute would take much longer when the traffic was at normal levels. (But then traffic isn’t so bad at night when people might be going to small group, so maybe the argument doesn’t hold.) The thesis is that light traffic on Sundays distorts people’s choice of church.
Since I moved, I’ve been crossing the city on Sundays, albeit from inner suburb to inner suburb; it is remarkable how little time it takes me. I’m sure if it took the forty minutes it would take at peak hour instead of fifteen minutes, it would be a factor in me trying to find a new and local church. Alas, I’m also one of those misfits who would only feel at home in a small number of churches. I hold that in tension with a strong ideal for ‘relocalising’, especially in church.