DCC News


Weekly e-newsletter for members and friends of the Dublin Community Church


October 17, 2008


Are We There Yet?

Five years ago I was about to take a three- month trip. I was going to go to a number of countries and the experience was going to be quite strenuous in terms of travel, food and difficulty. I looked forward to it though.

A friend commented…and he commented correctly… “Bob, you are really going to go outside your comfort zone.”

He was right.

Comfort zone. Just what is that? I don’t recollect people using that term 35 years ago. I guess that “outside your comfort zone” is just a nice way of saying… “Man, you are nuts!” Come to think of it, I do recall a number of people saying just that thing to me 35 years ago when I told them I was going to live in Zambia for three years.

But, since then we have had the self-help movement and we are now “focusing inward” and “self actualizing” and “getting in touch with our inner selves” and “giving positive energy” to one another. “Going outside your comfort zone” is just a nice (positive) way of saying, “Man, you are nuts to want to go there.”

So, last Sunday in worship we had the Sr. Hi Youth Work Project video during our service. Take 20 + youth and advisors and load them into a bus and send them to Kentucky to re-hab houses and stay with others for the week. Ask them to barely sleep, work in hot sweaty conditions, doing building tasks that most of them are not really familiar with and then see if they can remain civil to one another.

Is that “getting outside of their comfort zone”?

Ask them to sleep in crowded conditions, endure some heat, be cut off from friends even though they may or may not have had cell phone contact, little access to email or text messaging. Are they “outside of their comfort zone” yet?


Flat-panel-wide-screen TV deprivation. No access to a car nor to friends who have a car. Forget about going through the drive-thru for a burger at 11pm. “Outside of their comfort zone?”

They spoke about the mission trip during worship last week and from what I heard of their personal testimonies of the trip I didn’t detect that they left their comfort zone. From what I saw of the video of their work experiences on three separate houses I did not detect that they left their comfort zone.

I don’t think the trip was designed with the goal being to leave one’s comfort zone. From all of the work trips that I have participated in with high schoolers, the reason for planning and for going was to…experience something that we would not experience around the corner or across town or on the other side of the state. When I was planning work trips I always wanted to see our kids have their horizons expanded. If they could experience people and places that were different from themselves and their home and if they could come back realizing that people are people, then I considered the work trip a success.

If they could experience a different income level than that of their home, and view the hardships and the joys of this other life…then I considered the work trip a success.

As for the Sr. Hi. Youth Mission Trip of last summer. I think the leaders and planners and youth achieved those objectives. After hearing the kids give their testimonies and after viewing the excellent video of the trip, it looked like the great challenge was met and overcome.

As for this whole “comfort zone” thing: I’ve decided that it was not a case of “getting outside of their comfort zone.” It appears as if they took their “comfort zone” with them.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing