Aubrey Malphurs lists ten major barriers that churches are facing as they strive to make disciples. This series of blogs examines these ten components. Here’s the list again:
- Lack of vision;
- Lack of outreach and passion;
- Congregations not willing to change;
- Lack of leadership-intentional leader training;
- Lack of prayer;
- Lack of unity;
- Congregation too comfortable;
- Little ownership of mission/purpose;
- Resistant power structures;
- Church unwilling to adapt to a changing culture.
Our last blog looked at “lack of unity.” We now focus on when a congregation or church leaders get “too comfortable.” When you think about it, being too comfortable can lead to a lack of unity. Some churches drift into a status quo situation. They become satisfied with what has been, failing to see what could be, and there by neglecting the Great Commission. This is often a slow slide and like the frog in the kettle goes by un-noticed. It is the sin of the church at Laodicea where the church became lukewarm which is another way of saying “too comfortable.” Revelation 3:16 reads, “So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Substitute the phrase “too comfortable” for lukewarm!
Should a church ever be satisfied and content? If that question is in any way connected to reaching and disciple making, then the answer is “no.” Until everyone on the planet is a follower of Christ and discipled, then there is still work to do. There is nothing wrong with being excited about your church and what God is doing but there should be a holy hunger for more. Often a church moves into their comfort zones because they have somewhere along the way lost their vision and purpose. A vision keeps us focused on the mission and the future. It is like a laser that sharpens our ministries.
Are your people serving or asleep at the wheel? Being comfortable is often an excuse for not doing present ministries with excellence, not starting new ministries to reach people, and not involving new people in leadership. Being satisfied in our own personal walk with the Lord can cause us to be flat and plateaued. “Casual Christianity” is a misnomer. The two words do not fit. Christianity is anything but casual! It is radical, life changing, and constantly challenging. We should never be too comfortable or too satisfied when there is so much more to do for the Kingdom of God.
So how do we move a church forward? Someone must challenge the status quo, cast the vision, and launch new plans to reach and disciple new people. Any organization including the church can improve something it is presently doing. It could be improving greeter ministry, disciple making, worship, Sunday School/small groups, facilities, etc.
Recently, has your church been called on to pray for God’s vision and direction? If we pray, God will move us out of our comfort zones and forward in a faith adventure. When we pray, the Lord changes us and redirects us. When we don’t pray we get spiritually lazy.
Lack of prayer is one of the top ten barriers and you can easily see how all of these components are interconnected- lack of vision and passion and leadership and unity and mission all contribute to our being too comfortable. It’s interesting that if we address and change any of these ten components, we will directly affect some of the others. They are all connected!
Challenge your church to rejoice in what God has done (the past) but not to live in the past. Move your church to improve and expand ministries today that will produce a harvest tomorrow. You can’t do that if you are too comfortable.