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  • Writer's pictureJohn Caldwell

Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone: The Key to Growth

Pioneering, church planting, and prison ministry all have one thing in common: they force you out your comfort zone.

God has never allowed me to become too comfortable. Just when I get to the point of thinking I've mastered a particular skill or responsibility, he shakes things up and moves me into a new season. Over the course of twenty years I've transitioned from recovery work to youth and community work to university education to full time teaching to pastoral ministry to church planting and prison chaplaincy. Each season forced me out of the comfortable into the uncomfortable. Each season nudged me out of a place of competence and confidence to a place of vulnerability and learning. Each season was a period of stretching, but in the vulnerability and challenges there was new growth. A new dependency upon God and a new opportunity to experience the flow of his gifts and anointing.

I'm convinced that many Christians are stuck because they either are not given, or will not embrace new opportunities to grow. In the world. we meet people who have a 'not my job' attitude, in the church it's a 'not my gift' attitude.

If only we would see the opportunities to develop and grow, and take them, we would find new levels of joy and purpose. Some Christians have been on the road for twenty years or more and they have never hosted or led a home group. Others have never taken people for a coffee to build up relationships or share their faith.

We need to raise the bar in terms of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Christ did not shed his blood just for us to go to church, sing songs, say amen, and pay a tithe. That's all good, but there is so much more to discipleship.

This principle does not only apply to people in the pews, it applies to those who serve and preach the word. The further we go on in ministry, and the more we develop a particular gifting, the easier it is to become static. We slip into a mechanical sort of functioning. Jesus wants to break us out of the rut we've slipped into.

Here's a challenge: determine to do something different in the days ahead. Even something simple like abandoning your manuscript and preaching out of your inner resources, rather than your sermon notes. That opportunity to feel vulnerability may just be the catalyst you need to rediscover what it means to really depend upon the Lord for him to empower your ministry.

The opportunities to step out the comfort zone are limitless. The question is: are you willing to do it?

Why bother?

The lost. The lost. The lost.

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