I’m pretty close (I hope I hope I hope) to getting a job as a youth pastor, which is really exciting. However, as usual, when someone new comes in to anything, there will eventually be some sort of changes taking place. Inevitably, this means that people will be uncomfortable and skeptical about changes because they aren’t used to them yet. So, I thought it would be good to think about making ministry changes in a theological sense, so that when I do decide to make changes, hopefully there will be some sort of theological foundation for doing whatever it is I want to do. Here it is:
We don’t like change because we like being comfortable. As human beings, we try to avoid anything that makes us uncomfortable, because to our natural inclinations, comfort is better than discomfort. The problem with this mindset comes when we read the Gospels. We find this in Matthew 16:24, as well as other parallel passages in the other Gospels: “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'”
Taking up one’s cross isn’t a comfortable place to be. One, crosses are heavy, which makes carrying one a pretty large ordeal. Two, crosses are a symbol of death. It’d be like carrying a noose or an electric chair with you. Not a very comfortable combination? Christ calls us to a state of discomfort.
But, why is comfort bad? Because when we are comfortable, we think we’ve got it together, we think that we’re doing ok, and we come into something with expectations. If our expectations aren’t met, then we are disappointed. Here’s the problem: throughout history, God has broken the expectations of man in order to communicate his message. When we get comfortable, we expect (and therefore limit) God to speak within a little box of expectations that we have created. When we are uncomfortable, and don’t know what to expect, we listen for God to speak in any way because we don’t know what to expect. By not having a preconceived notion about what is going to happen, we listen to God better so that he is able to mold us into who he has called us to be. When we are in uncharted territory, we have to rely on God, not ourselves.
So, in a spiritual sense, discomfort is better than comfort, which means change is better than stagnation. Think of a creek, where it gets still, mold and algae develop, but where the water is flowing, it stays clean. Our spiritual lives are the same way. When we start getting comfortable, then we start missing out on what God has in store for us.