Remember when you were in the friend zone?
For the married crowd let me refresh your memory on what the friend zone is.
The friend zone is when you like someone more than just friends, but they don’t see you the same way so they put you in what’s called the friend zone. It pretty much means that they will never see you as more than a friend and there’s nothing you can do about it. They simply don’t see you the same way that you see them. For men, those three words bring up feelings of impending doom, emotional death, and absolute helplessness.
The friend zone is a barrier put up between you and the other person that says “you can come this far into my life, but no farther then this boundary I put up”.
So what happens when we Church zone people? I’m glad you asked.
The Church zone is like the friend zone only for Church people. Essentially, it’s a barrier we put up between us and other fellow Church members that says we can be friends up to a point. That we can be friends at Church events (like Sunday morning, maybe small group, and the yearly Super Bowl party) and that’s about as far as our relationship will go. When we church zone people we don’t see them as friends that we do life with, we see them as church folks that we see once a week or at other church events.
I know when I’m breaking out of the church zone with Church people when they call me just to hangout, to maybe see a movie, to kick back at the house and figure out something to do. This is when I know I’m not just a fellow church member, but now I’m a friend. Now I ‘m someone they see as a part of their entire life, not just their “church life”.
This is incredibly frustrating for me because the big movement in Church these past few years has been a (rightful) focus on community and relationships. The problem is that we are so used to planning events and church functions that we have forgotten how to be friends again.We are afraid that if people from Church just hangout without an agenda that we somehow didn’t do it right. This is a dangerous mindset because when we forget how to be…friends, we then miss the whole point of holistic Church life.
Listen, if people in the Church are agreeing that Church is not a place you go to it’s a life you live, then we need to smash through this wall in our heads that we put up of spending 90% of our time with fellow Church members at specific Church designated events. We must de-compartmentalize and blur the lines between Church friends and friends! Who are the people you make time to see? Who are the people that you can be you around, who you invite over regularly to eat with, to catch up on life with, to share your life with? Are they the same people you see regularly on Sunday morning?
If we are going to claim to be a Church that sees human relationships as key to living out the faith, then we must de-church zone our fellow church members and must invite them into our whole lives, not just to small group time, or Sunday morning service time, or potluck dinner time.
What’s the challenge? Call up someone you see on Sunday mornings but not during your normal week or during your normal social time and invite them to hangout. Share a meal, play Mario Kart, grab coffee, go shopping together or whatever else you can think of and break them out of the zone you’ve put them in.
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