Leadership magazine has a blog called "Out of Ur" that I've been reading lately. Today, they posted "Exit Stage Left" which examines why "spiritually mature" people often leave the church.
The article refers to this book, which I've not read but probably will at some point and which suggests six stages of faith development. I don't know how similar those stages are to those proposed by Fowler in his classic work on the subject, nonetheless the article suggest that during the fourth stage...
"We begin to redefine our impressions of the faith and to some degree even our theology as we mature."
It is here that the disconnect with the church occurs for some.
"It’s especially difficult when people who reach stage four are in positions of influence and leadership. Churches, from the mega to the mini, are designed to help people mature in the external areas of service and discipleship, not the internal struggles of identity and meaning."
I don't know how much of a generalized conclusion can be drawn from these insights, and I certainly don't want to claim any sort of superior level of spiritual maturity, but I do know that these observations match up with my own experience. My own relationship with the Holy and the Church's approach to ministry are, in a word, divergent. This is true also of my perceptions of the church's attempts to minister to many people who I've witnessed entering a similar stage of faith reorientation.
I've felt for a long time like the Church and I keep missing each other. Maybe Hagberg and Guelich are on to something.