Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In the comfort zone...

The vast majority of pastors have settled into a comfort zone. This involves dwelling in the moderate middle, and an avoidance of extremes. In addition, most church leaders will go almost any distance to avoid criticism; resulting in the continual effort to maintain unity at all costs, to keep everyone happy.

We might also add valuing the normal; and finally, a sense of gradualism, that the rate of change should be kept under strict control, and the best change is that which occurs very slowly.

Kerry Thorpe, Doing Things Differently


  1. Thanks for this quote, Mike. Speaking as a pastor who has valued change and consistently striven to move beyond my comfort zone, I have to add something to this quote -- it takes energy and hard work to move beyond the comfort zone, and it requires tough self-discipline.

    I'm very sympathetic with pastors who settle into a comfort zone, and if I weren't someone who is personally driven, I'd be headed right for the comfort zone myself. I also believe that most congregations are quite happy to have their pastors settle into a comfort zone.

  2. You're right that most churches prefer the comfortable and the familiar, especially pastoral and family-sized congregations. Church should always be a place of respite for those who need it. But this cannot be the final destination, a resting place, but rather a place of embarkation to reach out and create a more just and humane world. People of faith should desire a church that demands something of them.