Chai Tea Latte, Please
The other day, I had a meeting at a local coffee shop and I found myself in an unusual situation… I ordered a Chai Tea Latte. For many of you, that might not be a big deal, but for me it was. It was a big deal because I am not a big coffee person. I have been known to frequent a coffee shop every once in a while, but I don’t need coffee. Sure I have a cup or two, sometimes three in the office, and I might get one if I am out at a meeting. But I never make coffee for myself, and I never stop to get coffee because I need it. However, when I do find myself visiting a coffee shop, like I did the other day, I typically order one of two drinks. If it is hot outside, I order a Mocha Frappuccino (large no whip). If it is cooler outside, I get a Mocha Latte.
I am comfortable with those two drinks. I know I like them, I know that I will enjoy them, so why mess with something that I already like? I know that there are lots of things out there that I might like, but I also know that I don’t want to spend money on something I don’t. So I stick with what I know and like and I am fine with it. So for me, to order a Chai Tea Latte was not only unusual, but a little out of my comfort zone. I am sure I am not the only one who does this.
How many of us find ourselves going to the same restaurants (or fast food)? And how many of us order the same thing at those restaurants every time we go? I go to the same grocery store, even though there is one right across the street. Why do we do this? Why do we limit ourselves when there are so many possibilities out there? It is because we like to feel comfortable with what we know.
It is interesting, but I haven’t always been this way. When I was younger and we would go to Baskin Robbins, I would intentionally try new flavors every time we went. When I would get a soda, I would often try each one, and if that didn’t work, I would mix them all together and drink it that way. I remember when the Blizzard was invented at Dairy Queen I tried all four flavors. But I can’t remember the last time I tried a new Blizzard flavor or tried a new ice cream from Baskin Robbins that I haven’t tried before. I don’t do this with everything, but with some things, at some point in my life, I subconsciously traded in the new for what I knew.
Find things that we are comfortable with and staying with them doesn’t just happen in our daily lives, it finds its way into our church lives as well. If you don’t think it does, think about where you sit on Sunday. Is it in the same area each week - next to the same people? Do we go out of our way to find people we don’t know to talk to, or do we just seek out the people we already know? Do we go out the same door and get the same drink and cookie(s) after worship? If a new song is introduced, do we give it our all or do we sit back and listen?
When I was growing up, my family always sat three rows back on the right. If someone was sitting there, it wasn’t a big deal, we would just sit four rows back, but then return to our normal third row the following week. I grew up in a very small church and everyone had a place. It was easy to figure out when someone new was visiting because the balance of comfort would be out of order.
Feeling comfortable isn’t a bad thing. We are programed to find places where we feel comfortable, we search for places to belong. But some times our comfort can be limiting, not only to ourselves, but to others. It can limit us because if we only stay with what we know, we will never know what else is out there. We will never know our potential if we aren’t willing to leave what we know and grow. We have to be willing to try new things, try old things for a new time. We have to be willing to put our comfort at risk if we want to grow beyond the person we are today.
As a church the same is true. We have to be willing to risk our comfort and the comfort of others to meet someone new. We need to be willing to try something that we haven’t done before to figure out if it will work or not. We need people to step into new roles and bring with them new ideas if we are going to continue to reach out into our community and grow.
Getting away from our comfort zones can be scary, especially if you look at everything at once. But it doesn’t have to be if you just take small steps. So to help get us out of our comfort zones I would encourage everyone, as you come to church, to sit somewhere new. Not just a row back, but a new section of the church, with people you might not know. Then after you do that, I encourage everyone to take the time after worship to meet someone new. It doesn’t matter if they have been members for 10 years or 10 minutes, if you don’t know them, get to know them.
Jesus never let the fact that he hadn’t met someone keep him from meeting them where they were. What would Pinnacle be if we set aside our busy agendas and took the time to meet people where they are and help give them a place at Pinnacle where they, too, feel comfortable?
By the way, next time you are out at a restaurant or getting coffee try something new, you never know what is out there until you try it. And in case you were wondering, the Chai Tea Latte was delicious!