For several years now, I have seen spots before my eyes. In non-technical terms, they are “eye floaters.” My doctor said it was nothing to be worried about. He said that as we age, the fluid in our eyes can dry or harden and the small pieces begin to clump together and float. Generally, they are transparent, but occasionally they will catch the light and appear as shadows in your vision. Most of the time, I don’t see them, but depending on what type or color of background or wall I’m looking at, I will become aware of them.
As a pastor, I am aware of a different type of floater. These are people who float in and out of the church and never seem to attach or connect. One group of floaters are those who float in and out from week to week. Perhaps they attend once or twice a month and yet consider your place their church home. Another type is even more sporadic in their attendance, floating between your church and their cabin in the woods or camping at the lake. Still others are what are termed as CEOs—Christmas & Easter Only. They show up during the holidays and are gone for several weeks and months before turning up again.
Another group of floaters are those who come into the church excited and enthusiastic. They love the preaching and the music. They gush about the programs. They want to be discipled. They desire to serve. Over time, they may even become members. But then one day, you realize you haven’t seen them for several weeks. Apparently, their roots were too shallow and they drifted away. On very few occasions, they will say “goodbye” and explain why they are leaving. Perhaps it was a perceived slight or offense. Perhaps they didn’t have as much influence as they were hoping for. Maybe the pastor didn’t greet them or the worship leader didn’t incorporate their favorite song into the worship set. More often than not, they simply floated away without saying anything. It’s only later that you begin to notice their absence and wonder, “Whatever happened to so-and-so?”
Floaters in the eyes may be a natural part of aging. On occasion, however, it could be a sign of something more serious that needs to be checked and corrected. Floaters in the church may be a reflection of our culture and our lack of commitment and connection. On occasion, however, it could be a sign of a weakness in the church or the individual that needs to be checked or corrected.
If your eyes have floaters, talk to your doctor. If your church has floaters, ask the people graciously why they stopped attending. If there is something that needs to be corrected and/or healed, do what you can to fix the problem. If you are a floater, get counsel from a trusted friend as to what is holding you back from committing yourself to a church body.