I don’t agree with everything that takes place at my church.
There are times I raise my eyebrows in surprise at things that are accepted or thought–and there are also times when I realize other people are raising their eyebrows at me. There are times when the leadership announces decisions that make me applaud inside– there are other times when I just sit there with a thousand questions running through my head.
But I still choose to attend and take part.
The reason is simple. When it actually comes down to it, I don’t really want to go to a church where I’m always 100% completely comfortable.
I don’t want to attend a church where I come in, sit down, and just accept everything that’s happening around me without thought. I don’t want to attend a church where my personal preferences are always met (not sure this would exist anywhere, but you know… if it did, it wouldn’t be good!). I don’t want to attend a church where it would become easy for me to place the responsibility for my spirituality on the leadership. I don’t want to attend a church where the worship is always catered to my liking and I could gradually start expecting a “worship experience” at church to fulfill my need to interact with God. And I especially don’t want to be in a place where I look all around and only find people who agree with me.
Because here’s a newsflash, y’all: I’m not always right. I don’t always interpret Scripture perfectly. I don’t always know the right answers or have a good reason for whatever I am claiming. I don’t always know what truth actually is.
So if everyone around me is in agreement with me, and everything at my church is just comfortable, then probably the places where I am wrong will just keep getting wronger. My misinterpretations of Scripture will just keep getting bigger. The lies I am believing will never be addressed.
Guys, this happens all the time. Churches and leadership fail when the people stop thinking. When they stop being changed from within and instead just change their outsides to match what is around them. When they make themselves all comfortable.
My daughter asked me the other day why I do things differently than other people at church and I told her the truth: I don’t ever want to be so comfortable that I choose to stop thinking for myself. In the end, I am the one who has to give an answer for the things I do. And it’s okay for me to look different. It’s okay for me to not just do what everyone else around me is doing. It’s okay for me to not always be comfortable.
There were a few years when I lamented over not being comfortable where I was. I remembered back to my high school days and our little church in Florida where I just lived and grew and learned to follow God with my whole heart. I wanted that again.
Yet, when I thought back– I realized that I could probably list a dozen things that were uncomfortable for me at church, even then. They were very different things, but still, there were small areas where I didn’t agree or I struggled with the leadership’s decisions.
The only variable between the time when I “lived and grew and followed God with my whole heart” was not the church I was part of, but me.**
I am the one who chooses to be alive or not. I am the one who chooses to follow God with my whole heart or not. The leadership of a church, the traditions, the decisions— none of these things are actually responsible for where I am with Christ.
So when I say that you shouldn’t be comfortable in your church, I don’t mean “attend a church you hate.” I mean you shouldn’t always be comfortable.
There should be days when you ask questions. There should be times when you do things differently than those around you. There should be truth penetrating the lies that we all believe in this fallen world. There should be those moments when you feel itchy and uncomfortable and you end up going home and searching for answers in Scripture.
Because the whole point is not to be happy and comfy– the whole point is to become more like Jesus. We all need a lot of refining, and one of the tools He gives us is the Body of Christ.
I’m not always comfortable in my church. That’s the truth. And I’m thankful for it.
**Please don’t assume this to mean that I’m saying you should stay in any church no matter what. There are basic tenets of the faith that are very clear in Scripture. I am talking about how faith is lived out, not what a church has faith in. That is another subject entirely.