I’m pretty sure that most of the people who followed Jesus in those gospel stories, followed because they understood that Jesus was offering more than pie in the sky. They were looking for tangible benefits.
They wanted to be healed. They wanted food. They wanted to be taught how to live a better life (ie. education). They wanted liberation from Roman occupation. They wanted relief from grinding poverty.
While it may be true that none of these tangible goods were Jesus’ ultimate objective, they were still essential parts of what he did. They were evidence of something greater going on.
One reason churches often fail to thrive is that there’s nothing tangible. Either the programs are stuck in a former day and aren’t offering their communities anything they really want or need any longer, or they’ve restricted their offering to sky pie.
I’m not saying that churches should conform their missions to community services that could be just as easily provided by the Kiwanis Club (no disrespect to the important work the Kiwanis do). Just that if your church isn’t doing something tangible, it’s probably not doing much else of any interest either.