People are creatures of habit. Some are just creatures. Lol. People like to stick to what they know. I’m no different, I guess. For instance, every time I go to a new restaurant, more often then not, I order the club sandwich. Most restaurants have one and I figure it’s pretty hard to mess up a club sandwich. That reminds me of something T.F.Tenney once said, “I’ve never heard a sermon that I didn’t get something out of, but I’ve had a few close calls.” I feel the same about my clubhouse sandwich experiences.
No place are people more creatures of habit than at church. They tend to arrive at the same time almost every service. For most, that is usually five minutes after service starts, where they can slip into the back seats unnoticed. Recently, while in Nicaragua on a missions trip, I was surprised to see what they do down there to curb this trend.
Before the service, they put out about 2 rows of chairs for the early comers. As service starts and people start arriving, they each take a chair from the stacks at the back of the church and start a new row until it’s full. It is a neat concept that keeps people from all congregating in the back of the church. It also, almost certainly will guarantee that everybody sits in different seats every service. Obviously, it only works with stackable chairs and not with pews. Imagine if you had to pick up your pew and carry it? It would be hilarious, but it would probably ruin the atmosphere.
In North America, we have a weird tradition of our church people always sitting in the same pew/chair each service. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s sort of like wearing lucky socks or your favorite tie to a big job interview. Maybe it’s because that seat has a window view. Hopefully it’s not because you want to have a quick exit during the altar call. I’ll let that one simmer…
In our local church, we had the same problem, so one day we asked everybody to sit on the opposite side of the church for a month. We received some weird looks but everybody did it. We definitely noticed a difference as people started kicking their habits and exited their comfort zone.
God is everywhere and can move anywhere, but there definitely seems to be a principle in the Bible that God likes to move when people step outside their comfort zone. Think David, Elijah, Peter, Paul, etc. We often wonder why missionaries see these great miracles, yet we in North America don’t see them that often. Maybe it’s because of these men and women who have left their comfort zone behind and are completely trusting in God.
When are you going to start kicking your habits? Step out of your comfort zone and into God’s presence! Just another friendly teachable moment.