Early in my church planting years I worked into the fabric of our church the concept of a Theology of Discomfort. At the root of this concept is the notion that we all need a little discomfort in our lives to move forward in our sanctification. As you explore this rhythm of spiritual growth, you will notice that throughout the faith there are uncomfortable concepts like Christian community that brings a diverse people together for the purpose of proclaiming, celebrating and delighting in the presence of Christ.
I often come across people who are passionate about elevating any form of discomfort from their lives. In fact, people will go to great lengths to create a calm routine to simply avoid any level of discomfort. To be clear, a Theology of Discomfort is not focused on creating painful circumstances in life for the purpose of spiritual growth; however this system recognizes that normal discomforts of life can actually produce health. For example, we all avoid the lifestyle of healthy eating accompanied with exercise. The
reason we avoid this process towards health is because it is uncomfortable. We do not value discomfort.
Perhaps the greatest place a Theology of Discomfort appears is in the realm of Christian community. I am a married man with older children and a grandchild. It could easily become my routine to engage community with those in the same age demographic and socioeconomic sphere. If that were to be my norm, I would miss out on many of the blessings of grace that God extends to His church. In fact, it is important to understand that church is a place where:
The path to good fellowship is often uncomfortable. The beauty of Christian community is that God allows us to be known by people who are different. Diverse backgrounds and personalities should not serve as barriers to promoting the image of God to the world. To see this expression within our faith community at New Life, we must intentionally extend our fellowship and open our homes to those we would consider different. In God’s economy, this is beautiful.
If you are ready for this rhythm of discomfort make plans to reach out to someone that you would consider different. Take time to get to know those you would typically pass by with a polite smile or simple greeting. Begin praying for those you notice, people you would consider to be at a different phase in life. Look for God’s fingerprints of grace within the life of a close stranger and make that your pathway to peace. My prayer is that God would grow within us a diverse community with a passion to express His image well.
Our Pastor writes most of the blog posts we publish, however, occasionally some of our other church leadership (some staff, some volunteer) who also contribute to the New Life blog.