A central tenant of this blog is that to grow spiritually, we cannot settle into the comfortable and the familiar. A life of continual comfort devolves into a a form of slacker spirituality. Fighting this tendency in his disciples, Jesus kept his disciples off balance.
When he called out his disciples, he didn’t
call them to a synagogue or even a home.
Look at the first verses of Luke chapters 7, 8, 9 and 10. Each chapter begins with a change of setting. Jesus had his disciples
continually on the move. He never had a
title deed or a building program.
Because the objective of his curriculum was to help his
disciples wake up to the kingdom reality all around them, he had to knock his
disciples off balance. He did this in
part by continually changing their surroundings. He understood our human tendency to
extrapolate from predictability. When we
see things that look like our past experience, we presume – we figure the
future will look something like the past.*
Thus Peter wanted to make booths on the Mount of Transfiguration
or chop off the soldiers ear to protect Jesus.
We all miss God that way. We
learn to navigate this physical world and transfer that understanding to the
The problem is that behaviors that help us navigate in the
physical realm often are in opposition to the navigational tool of faith that
we need in the realm of the kingdom.
People (like pastors and provosts) who are stewards of the
spiritual development of their constituency find themselves continually
frustrated by the limits of predictability imposed on them by their
institutions’ commitment to buildings.
They would be far more successful if they were unencumbered by
place. Every church building program
launched by pastors and elders flies directly into these biblical head winds. I think Jesus would disavow most of them.
*Incidentally, the people who dismiss the validity of short-term missions (STMs)
miss this essential biblical principle. The STM
was Jesus’ primary discipleship venue. He didn’t teach from a pulpit or a classroom, but called his disciples to wandering with him from town to town.