Are you comfortable with your comfortable church, or does the fact that your church has become so comfortable make you feel uncomfortable? Or perhaps your church is neither comfortable nor uncomfortable? I’m not talking about being squeezed into the middle of a row of economy class seats on a flight from hell. The sad fact is that if we are comfortable in our churches then there is every possibility that people are flying past us on a one-way flight not from hell but to hell, with our family members, friends, neighbours, co-workers, acquaintances as well as people we have never met squeezed into every economy class seat. And the first class seats? Perhaps they are reserved for subscribers to comfortable Christianity?
Why would we/should we be uncomfortable with our churches? Well here’s the question I have been asking myself: Is my church a barrier to the lost getting saved? If it is then perhaps we need to turn off the lights, lock the doors one last time and throw away the keys? I share my concerns because it seems to me as if the church of today generally needs a massive kick up the backside. A sort of table turning over moment like the one that took place in the Temple when Jesus found vendors of various types obstructing the path to worship for the gentiles and the ladies who were only permitted to be in the outer court.
I have to thank Jon Swanson for challenging me and educating me on this subject. I am using Jon’s book of reflections for advent (Saint John of the Mall) at the moment. It’s not comfortable being challenged but we all need to be. The alternative is to drift blindly on in the hope and/or assumption that nothing is wrong and nothing needs to change. Well, I’m sorry. Coming into relationship with Jesus is a process, not an event. We were never meant to stand still in our faith. If the early apostles had stayed locked up in that room in Jerusalem waiting for more wind and fire then none of our churches would exist.
When the Holy Spirit came powerfully on those first followers of Jesus He didn’t come with the keys to a luxury house and a lifetime account at Ikea. Jesus had already promised the mansion, but not a mansion of this world with wall-to-wall comfort. The last thing following Jesus was and is supposed to be is comfortable. We can’t afford to put our feet up. There is a world around us that desperately needs followers of Jesus to start pointing the way to Him and stop being a barrier to salvation.
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” (John 15: 1-2 NLT)