As we melt into summer at CBC, I'm reminded of the comfort brought by our seasonal rhythms. Every church or organization has rhythms. They provide comfort and familiarity, and oftentimes breathe life into our community. Advent is a fantastic example. We take four weeks a year to sing the same songs, tell the same stories, and fall into the same traditions as we remember the incredible joy of the incarnation. I love everything about the Advent season.
At CBC, a rhythm that defines summer is our short-term mission trips. People are always on the move. Summer is only a few weeks old and we've already built wells in Nicaragua and houses in Mexico. In the next couple of months, we are sending teams to build additions to our strategic missions partner’s facilities at BEE World and welcoming a week of local mission activity for the kiddos in our community with Camp in the City. In all the chaos of the coming and going, there is comfort. Summer feels officially "here" once again as people take off and return safely. I find familiarity in the dozens of Facebook pics documenting the experiences, and am reminded of the importance of our mission as followers of Christ to go and proclaim the gospel as I hear the stories of what God did in a week or two somewhere out there.
But just as comfort guides and gives life as we are reminded of shared values through familiarity, it can get in the way of growth. Ask just about anyone who has been on a short-term trip. They will be the first to share how they were challenged. They will talk about how they were forced outside of their comfort zones and grew because of it. I've been on short-term trips with CBC to Haiti, Mexico, Romania, Ireland, Arizona, Mississippi and Africa; and the single factor leading towards growth on all of them was the willingness of individuals to step outside of what was comfortable and let God work.
Summer has just begun, and I'm reminded of the profound influence of comfort. It helps to center and give guidance, but when taken away can also lead to incredible growth as we are forced to change. My hope and prayer is that we have enough comfort to remind us of our shared values and traditions, but aren't so driven by comfort that we won't allow ourselves to step outside of what's comfortable - because that's where God so often shows up and changes lives. As we start off the summer, think through how the presence of comfort or lack there of is shaping who you are becoming as God works in and through you.
Where is comfort guiding you into the familiar and adding life?
Where is comfort holding you back from changing, from growing, as God sends you into the world to represent Christ?