Why I Don’t Think You Should Be Comfortable At Your Church
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. 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 more wrong. 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 exactly what I said: 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.
I actually love my church and do feel comfortable there! My hubby and I love sitting under the teaching of our pastor, who grows us every weekend! ❤
That’s wonderful, Donna! I pray the Lord blesses you abundantly as you minister from there. ♥
Hi Natasha. I know this is an oldthread but this is where I am right now. I feel I need to leave my current church be because you can’t question them and when I look up scripture for myself I’m more than uncomfortable about what they’re doing and saying. I find another church preaches Christ and grow listening to the pastors there. I don’t feel their worship style or cessationist theology suits me but I realise now I have to be responsible for my own faith and I do get the impression there they’d be very willing to engage with questions. This article may be the wisdom I’ve been asking the Lord for – to stop wanting everything but grow in the Lord a place where His word is handled well.
praying that the Lord leads you right to where He desires you to be for this season! Blessings!
Love this! One thing I really love about my current church is that the pastor and many others are very up front about being ok with different opinions and thoughts, even if they conflict. There’s a strong base in Jesus, but there’s lot of room to explore and learn and grown.
That’s awesome, Nicole. I am learning to accept questions, ask them, and then just simply live out the truths I know to the best of my ability– without judgement, but with firmness. It’s a good place to be.
You’ve echoed my beliefs, Tasha…again.
Thank you for the encouragement, Julie!
This is so affirming to read, I often am told that if I’m not “for my church” than I’m against it; but I really just constantly ask questions. I’m not always right; but if I hear something I question, I want to be able to discuss it without getting slammed or shunned. Lorretta and I know there is no perfect church; but it would be so wonderful to be in a body of believers that at least have created an atmosphere that discussions can take place openly without that allow none approach.
Asking questions is so vital to healthy growth! For everyone. The congregation, the individual, and the leadership. And there is nothing more beautiful than being with other Believers and wading through the questions together! Am so thankful this blessed you.
You’ve really hit the nail on the head here. If there would be more churches held together by long-suffering love and devotion instead of “similarity of belief”, then the body of Messiah would be much stronger and more powerful.
The trick is always that there are important things to agree upon (mainly, who Jesus is!) and there are also important things in the church itself– but most of us are more concerned with the outward things. The way people look, act, talk– or their style of worship or prayer– and our goal is comfortableness, not Christ-likeness. It’s a tough subject, and I told my husband that I barely scratched the surface of what I wanted to say! But I hope the point is clear: being uncomfortable is good. We all need more of it!
It IS a hard subject to “scratch”. Maybe it’ll become part of a series someday. Or maybe someone just needed to hear that little part. 🙂
Jess– you are seriously the best encourager. I was definitely sitting here thinking, “Man, maybe I shouldn’t have touched this since I certainly don’t have the time to dig into it a lot deeper right now…” and then I read your comment AND received a note from a reader telling me how much this meant to them where they are at right now.
Yes. Sometimes we’re called to just look at a little part for today. And our job is to just be faithful in that.
Aww 🙂 I think our big Papa knew you needed some encouragement. That’s great. 🙂