Comfort is Not the Destination

This image kinda says it all doesn’t it?…

As this year started we had gathered a few more families and the church was steady and healthy. On New Years Day we didn’t have a church service but instead gathered at the beach to hang out, swim and have breakfast. We didn’t announce it as an official church function as we would have had to fill in forms in triplicate for Wanneroo Council, pay a fee and write a risk assessment. We took a gamble on just turning up, like people used to… A whole bunch of people turned up and had a good time.

No one died. No one even stubbed a toe.

QBC was feeling safe, comfortable and familiar, as families often do.

The dreaded rosters were ok, there were enough people to do the jobs that existed around the place and my guess is that if we just kept doing the same stuff for the next couple of years we would probably add another 5 or 10 families with very little effort at all.

In many ways the ‘crisis’ was over, the church was off life support and was even feeling a bit healthy. This is the point where people say things like, ‘I like it here. I hope it doesn’t get too big… I hope it doesn’t get too organised… I hope…{insert personal preference here}’

Its that time when you realise that unless we are very intentional in our leadership we will slowly become a religious club. The footings are down… and the building material is onsite… We could easily become a lovely place to come and sing some songs, catch up with like minded people, hear some interesting talks on stuff we all agree on and then roll home again.

Do I sound a little harsh?

Have you ever seen it happen?

Yeah… me too… regularly. We have been quite up front that our focus to this point has been getting the community healthy, getting the church off life support and to a place where it can stand on its own two feet.

We are there.

Its time to turn the focus outwards more intentionally and increase the energy directed towards mission. There is a degree to which this happens naturally – over summer some of crew ran some ‘Summer Movies’ in the school grounds for the local community. That’s great stuff. Simple, no strings attached service to the community and fairly low budget too. It took some effort but I think people appreciated it.

My working definition of mission is ‘showing God’s love to the world’ and that can happen many ways, but it takes time and energy. Our need now is to make this a priority in our time management as a community. Maybe that sounds a bit clinical… whatever… its just saying that our most natural inclinations are selfish. Our natural inclinations cause us to improve our own comfort levels, but the gospel calls us to see the ones beyond our door as our first priority and to focus our best energies there.

I read this quote on Darren Cronshaw’s facebook page today and it struck a chord. Its from Sally Morgenthaler: “God’s work may not be all outside, but if we look at where Jesus spent his time, I think we can say that most of it is.”

So this year we have started the year by focussing on the book of Acts, because it is the story of God’s spirit creating the church out of a bunch of Jesus’ disciples and then propelling those people out into the world to be the visible presence of his kingdom – the sign that things are changing as people call him Lord. An embodiment of the world as God hopes it will be.

And these people lived wild and inspiring lives and they were successful in getting the word out…

We picked this book up because we want to lead this church into a very intentional engagement with the world. As leaders we have no desire to see church become all about a Sunday gathering. We want the church to be the living, active, transforming community of God at work in the world around us.

We will get together on Sundays for sure – but we want to come to grips with how we express church on the other 6 days of the week.

For some this is the most obvious thing in the world but for others a departure from a Sunday-centric paradigm of church may just seem too odd a thing to even consider.

Maybe its best just to curl up on the couch as it isn’t likely to be an easy transition…

2 thoughts on “Comfort is Not the Destination

  1. Hope you are cool with this as I am linking to this set of posts. I am finding them really helpful, having long ago got disillusioned with the standard evo ‘don’t talk about problems cos God will make you a success’ line.

    Thank you- there are many many others like you. Well at least this sadsack 46 year old Pommie is like you…

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