It’s no secret that many, let’s say most, Christians struggle with witnessing, evangelizing, sharing our faith – whatever you want to call it. I often hear the exhortation that we need to get outside of our comfort zones. I have frequently given that same exhortation in my ministry of training, coaching and consulting with pastors, church leaders and their congregations regarding gaining vitality in the church; in renewal or revitalization.
Recently, as I was thinking about the get outside of our comfort zones issue, it occurred to me that two default positions are inherent in that concept. First, to share our faith in an evangelistic way, we have to be uncomfortable. We have to step into a discomfort zone and the implication is that we will remain in that state of discomfort for the rest of our lives if we intend to be serious about Great Commission ministry on the personal level. We will always swim upstream; we will always fight against the odds in order the dutifully share the Gospel. Second, apparently our comfort zones don’t include personal commitment to the Great Commission, personal engagement in evangelism.
What’s wrong with this picture? To evangelize is to be uncomfortable. To be comfortable is to refrain from evangelizing. Really!? Is that where we want to be? Is that where we should be? I don’t think so.
Here’s what I’m thinking now: we need to create new comfort zones. We need to trade in our current hide-from-the-Great Commission comfort zones for new embrace-the-Great Commission comfort zones. To coin a couple of phrases, we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, our hearts, our souls, our strength (Romans 12:1-2; Matthew 22:34-40).
The objective is not to push through discomfort for the rest of our earthly lives by forcing ourselves to share the Gospel, as if we’re taking some horrible tasting medicine because we know we should. The objective is to become perfectly at home with freely sharing our lives in Christ as fruitful laborers working in the plentiful harvest. This might require a season of discomfort as we take those first steps outside of our current comfort zones, but that discomfort will move toward comfort and ease as we become more skilled, more fruitful and more committed to the Great Commission.
If your comfort zone excludes the sharing of the Gospel, I encourage you to pray that you will become uncomfortable with this fearful brand of comfort. Move to where the Gospel action is. By the grace of God, create a new comfort zone.