It has never been easy or comfortable. Peoples is peoples. It doesn't take much reading of the Gospels to find instances of the apostles arguing over dumb stuff - with Jesus right there, which you'd think would slow them down - and many of Paul's Epistles are his encouragement, admonition, and discipline of congregations which don't seem to have gotten this members of one body down pat.
I read the advice years ago, but after I was committed to a congregation and then a denomination, that it might be best for Christians to simply attend the church nearest them. That is the Roman Catholic parish model. It keeps us from standing in judgement of whether that congregation is doing things right. It removes much of the expectation that we will be worshiping with people of like mind and attitude.
For us, that would mean St Lawrence Parish Community, where we have worshiped on occasion and like reasonably well. There are two other congregations almost equally close, and as we lived nearer the center of town years ago we might have ended up at either of those just as easily. Even if we had elected to apply that rule beginning in 1976, we would have been unlikely to switch churches over a hundred-yard difference in 1987. I try to imagine what life would have been like had we applied the closest-church rule right from the start.
We now go to a church in the next circle out. It is one of less than a dozen in the range of 5-9 miles away. It is part of a denomination that we are now committed to, the Evangelical Covenant Church. I don't have any report for you whether it would have been better the other way. It seems to have worked for many centuries, but then, people didn't move that often until recently. Even the Roman Catholics seem to find the model fraying at the edges now.
I do however, have some evidence that the opposite extreme does not work. In between joining the Bedford church in 1987 and being there today, almost half the intervening time was spent in an ECC church plant in Concord, 35 minutes away. Most of the central figures in the congregation were from equally far away, and seldom in the same direction. Only a very few were from Concord at the end, and even those were from the other side of the city. It emphatically did not work. It was extremely difficult, especially for families, to get together for prayer, study, or fellowship events, or to visit the sick or make meals for them. We didn't attend the games and performances of each other's children* or use their teenagers as babysitters. We didn't get to meet visiting grandparents for more than a coffee hour after service. There were a thousand little community builders that never occurred.
It wasn't just us. We rented from a Seventh-Day Adventist church, and that is a denomination whose members are very uncomfortable with worshiping with other denominations, and they will travel far to stay with their own. That congregation was at least 50% people from over 30 minutes away, and some were an hour. They also did not grow the entire time we knew them. I think such distance is sometimes sustainable if there is both an ethnic/family and a doctrinal component - I have heard of such things. I'm betting there aren't many. Our current church has people from many surrounding towns, especially bordering towns, but it has a solid core of people who live in Bedford. It matters.
*Well, some of us did, but only the fanatics. Not many.