My forthcoming book Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community (preorder here) is a love letter to the church in all her imperfect glory.
In the book I discuss a whole range of uncomfortable aspects of following Jesus and committing to a local church. As painful as it is to rehash the warts of the church and as much as it makes me cringe to think of it all, it also fills me with joy. For it is on account of the uncomfortable, the awkward, the difficult and the challenging that I have grown.
But let's face it: the uncomfortable stuff about church is oftentimes laughably uncomfortable. And the stories each of us could tell are probably endless.
Here are just a few of the things that have proven awkward and/or uncomfortable for me in my three decades of church-going life. What would you add to the list?
● Praying aloud in public. Introverts reading this will understand
● Speaking on stage or from any sort of podium, for any reason
● That moment in a worship song when everyone is sitting and then as the song builds to a climax, people start popping up around you and you feel pressured to stand up too
● That moment in a small group or church meeting when the leader asks if someone will close in prayer, everyone avoids eye contact and you just KNOW he will call on you
● The “meet-and-greet” portion of church where smalltalk with strangers is encouraged
● Men’s Ministry activities involving sports, meat and people who call you “boss”
● Door-to-door or street evangelism (or any sort of evangelism really)
● Holding sweaty hands with strangers during a prayer circle time that never seems to end
● Youth group