“What I love about ______ church is that anyone can go without feeling uncomfortable.” This is the opinion of my friend, a young, bright, successful business woman about the church she attends most weekends. When she first said it I agreed with her. Of course we want people to feel comfortable at church, don’t we? We want our churches to be the most inviting, loving, friendly places. We want people from all walks of life to feel welcome, loved and accepted. But there’s another aspect of making sure no one feels uncomfortable that I’m not so sure is healthy for the Church. Let me explain…
Jesus gave us the great commission to preach the Gospel and make disciples — not just converts, but disciples. And making disciples implies an element of discomfort. In natural terms, growing takes work. It is the same in the spirit. Discomfort is necessary for transformation. “Disequilibration is the engine of learning,” said Piaget.
* Do you think it might have been uncomfortable for Peter to get out of the boat and walk on water? (Matthew 14:22-33)
* Do you think it might have been uncomfortable for the disciples (and then the 72) when Jesus sent them out to preach and heal the sick? (Matthew 10:5-23; Luke 10:1-12)
* Do you think it might have been uncomfortable for Peter, James and John when Jesus asked them to spend all night in prayer with Him? (Mark 14:32-42)
* Do you think it might have been uncomfortable for Peter when Jesus said to him, “Get behind me, Satan”? (Matthew 16:23)
* Do you think it might have been uncomfortable for Paul when Jesus called him to renounce everything he had known (pedigree, education, etc.) to serve Him? (Philippians 3:3-13)
* Do you think it might have been uncomfortable for the Church in Jerusalem, when the place where they were gathered together was shaken? (Acts 4:31)
* Do you think it might have been uncomfortable for the believers at Troas when Paul preached until midnight? (Acts 20:7-12)
What am I saying? I’m issuing an invitation to not settle for what is “comfortable.”
If you’ve been in Christ for some time and enjoy “comfortable” Christianity, I’m trying to help you realize that there are great depths in the Spirit, and God is inviting you to go there; but you will likely have to press through discomfort.
Perhaps the Lord is calling you to “step out of the boat;” perhaps He is inviting you to partner with Him by speaking to someone, ministering to someone, or doing something outside of your “comfort zone.” Maybe all He is asking of you is that you set aside the notions of what “church” should look like and give Him room to do what He wants to do!
I am inviting you to “get uncomfortable” and trust God in the discomfort. I assure you it’s well worth it!
Dr. Chiqui Polo-Wood | All Rights Reserved 2016