A few years ago during a Sunday School conference I was leading, a teacher told me that his class did not need any more men. Adding more would just mess up his class. Those words shocked me. While I didn’t confront him or his statement, I continued to share about the importance of caring for and reaching out to lost, unconnected, and new people. You see, in every class there is a strong pull toward comfort versus mission.
The Strong Pull toward Comfort
It is human to prefer comfort. We have favorite foods, chairs, and places. We have favorite clothes, paths, and friends. When people gather, we tend to discover affinities (things and experiences we share in common). Discovering affinities often leads to deeper relationships which bring comfort. But like gravity, comfort has a strong pull that can be difficult to resist.
Let share a personal illustration. My second favorite food is ice cream. I recently began reducing whole milk in my diet, and I sure miss my nightly serving of ice cream. But I had to make a choice. In fact, the choice was made easier because I have a good reason to make the choice.
Choosing the Mission
My choice to reduce ice cream consumption had a reason: testing had shown an increase of bad cholesterol since my last annual physical. So I made it my mission to make adjustments in my diet. In other words, I fought the strong pull of comfort and chose to pursue my mission. It has not been easy, but I know it is the right choice.
In our Sunday School classes, comfort tries to pull us into settling for the status quo. Everyone sits in the same seats. We don’t change our teaching methods to address the varied learning styles of participants. We grow comfortable with the people who are coming (and not coming). Because we have a few friends in class, we don’t try to make new ones.
God loved us so much that He was unwilling to leave us the way we were–separated and destined to spend eternity apart from Him. So He sent Jesus. He made us His mission. And now He has given us the mission to make disciples of all nations (Great Commission). That mission requires making daily choices.
We choose to speak to strangers, to be loving toward them, and to invite them. We spend time with God in the Word and prayer allowing Him to direct our choices and thoughts. The mission supersedes comfort.
Changing the Class Choice
What have you done to help your class to change their habits? Ignoring bad habits does not help them to go away. Here are a few ideas about how to lead your class to make the choice of mission over comfort:
- talk about and clarify the mission together
- lead them to pray about the mission
- ask them to identify key ways they can contribute to the mission
- announce a goal, starting date, and/or deadline
- share your testimony about choosing mission as a leader
- call for testimonies from group members
- affirm good choices.
Have you helped your class move from comfort to mission in some way? Encourage readers by sharing your journey in the Leave a Reply block below this post. Don’t settle for comfort. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!