I know that it can be hard to move people out of their comfort zones — towards new places, towards new people, towards new neighborhoods. Heck, even changing a worship time by 30 minutes in a large church can seem like trying to steer a cruise ship around — painful and a slow process.
And much of what you’ll find here, on this site, talks about the need for change in our local churches and how hard that can be.
But, I want to give a shout out to the process of building relationships and community that is good enough and strong enough for persons to hold onto — to not want to change even if they know they should; even if they know that the Gospel demands change.
Because it is a beautiful thing that we have churches who are filled with persons who really do love each other and really have supported one another through good times and bad, who have served and loved, and worshipped in ways that have brought them closer together and closer to God.
It’s a movement towards relationship.
Jeremy Hatfield puts it this way over at the Sojourner Network:
I have seen firsthand that congregants of a church very quickly settle into a comfortable norm with fellow worshippers. Introductions are made, friendships blossom, meals are shared, work is done, mission trips are taken, losses are grieved and joys are celebrated, and before you know it weeks, months and years have gone by. Over time, deep and cherished gospel-centered relationships are formed, and people grow to love and trust the family of God.
That’s beautiful. It’s a good thing. It’s a holy thing.
However, it means all the more that moving outside of this is going to be painful. And it’s going to require trust in each other. And it’s going to require a focus upon the missional impulse of God. And it’s going to require the faith that God can form new relationships outside of our various worlds where we are so comfortable.