The following was my initial response to a post on Mormon Matters a couple of years ago entitled, The Facade of Activity, written by Jeff Spector:
It is interesting to me that "the Church" keeps saying, over and over and over, that it can only be a supplement to what happens at the individual level and in the individual home. I think a lot of members just don't get that idea - that they equate "the Church" to the entity that is responsible for their spirituality and righteousness.
Thus, the "facade" (imo) is the gap between what they want "the Church" to be and what it actually is.
I don't think that will change EVER for ANYONE until leaders at the local level and individual members focus on preaching Jesus and His life more than Christ crucified and programs implemented. Christ crucified (and resurrected, of course) saves us, but Jesus of Nazareth showed and taught us how to live and become. That's what truly converts, imo (repenting [changing] and becoming more like Jesus) - and truly converted people use activity in church (and all kinds, really) to bless and love and serve others, not for themselves.
I get tired of people trying to come up with "how to reach people". If it were a matter of creating some program, it would have been created by now. Programs and activities are important for what they do (bring people together for a chance at mutual edification), but that's about all they can do - they can't provide the actual edification.
For example, one of my former Stake Presidents talked once to the Bishops about serving in the community simply to bless and help others - NOT as a "missionary tool". He talked about not seeing people (inside and outside the Church) as potential converts or projects, but instead simply as brothers and sisters in need. He talked about not accepting others for who we want them to be (conditionally), but simply loving them for who they are (unconditionally) - hoping they will grow with us to be "new creatures in Christ" but loving them completely even if we never see any change.
To me, that is the heart of the difference between activity as a "facade" and activity as a sign of conversion.
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