My bus trip around Philadelphia yesterday got me thinking again about comfort and how we use our desire for it to shape where we worship. When we went to Bethel Deliverance Church, we saw a church that started in a motel suite. They were able to squeeze 60 in the space. Neither the outside nor the inside was much to look at. When they had more than 60, they put them in other rooms and piped in video and sound through security cameras. Not sure how long the church continued in that fashion, but it was for quite some time.
One of the DMin students asked how this church kept people coming since the facility was so poor. His assumption was that suburban folk wouldn’t stand for that kind of issue. The pastor said that the church was primarily conversions to Christ and not transfer. #1 they didn’t know anything else, and #2 it was the Word they were hungry for. Some 20 years later, this church still remains an evangelistic and sending congregation.
How much does comfort play into your church decisions? Style? Space? Demographic? Content?
My church began in the 70s and for many years was like this. Somewhere, I think it lost its cutting edge and became more comfort seeking. Now, our facility isn’t much to look at, but somewhere I think it became a church body looking to be comforted and discipled than to be sent. I love my church and the leaders are doing everything they can to resurrect the sending part. But, until we folk start wanting to be uncomfortable, they are going to be frustrated in their goals. And I have to not point the finger to others. I want to be served–frankly–and need to contend with my me-centered desires.