We expect a newborn baby coming into the world to grow and that means the child will change over time. If this wasn’t happening we’d be worried; change is part and parcel of our existence. Although some find it hard to cope with change it is, nevertheless, inevitable and something to embrace. We are where we are today because of change. Over years, decades, generations, centuries and millennia society has changed. With new discoveries, new learning we have advanced. Just over 20 years ago I worked at the Nottingham Police Headquarters as a service engineer. I remember the force’s mainframe computer filling a large room. Today, because of technological advancement, a computer of similar capacity can fit into a shoe box.
The church is a living organism and as such will also experience change. If it doesn’t it will stagnate and become irrelevant to the community it’s supposed to serve and influence. Just as some people struggle with change, the church at various times has struggled with the fact that change is needed. Not embracing change is not an option for the church.
We shouldn’t change for the sake of it. There has to be a purpose for entertaining any form of change because there are always consequences to our action or inaction. Where the church is concerned we must consider what’ll enable us to continue with our mission: “to make disciples of all peoples.” That means we are to keep abreast of changes in society so we can adjust the way we do things; how we communicate the purity of the Good News to a changing world. Change is a choice. If we choose not to change we run the risk of not fulfilling our mission. This is precisely why the church is here on planet earth – to bring change; change from darkness to light; from death to life; from the rule of sin to the rule of righteousness in people’s lives.
Growing fellowships are those which have embraced the inevitability of change and use it to their advantage. Recognising and embracing change puts you in a place where you’re prepared to do whatever is necessary to reach out and communicate the Message effectively; to nurture and grow those who come to Yahshua. Let’s focus for a little while on our meetings: how they are conducted should reflect the changes that have taken place over generations. The music should reflect the development of music over the generations. How the Word is ministered or communicated should reflect the advancement in media technology. Let’s remember, we’re not suggesting a change to (or the watering down of) truth. The source of truth does not change – John 14:6; Hebrews 13:8. We’re talking about how truth is communicated and received so it impacts the people of today.
Leaders, we mustn’t allow our congregations to be stuck in the past so they are unable to communicate to the ‘now’ generation. Reaching the ‘now’ generation shouldn’t be the preserve of the specialist congregation – it is the responsibility of every believer and fellowship.
What can leaders do to ensure congregations are able to impact the ‘now’ world?
The congregation will grow when it acknowledges the ongoing change taking place in society; when it organises and equips itself to influence those it so desperately wants to reach with the Good News about Yahshua. In recognising change the church should be proactive and find ways to engage with people’s changed attitudes in order to bring about real spiritual transformation. Let’s not wait till change is beating down the doors and so miss the opportunity.
In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.
Become a student of change. It is the only thing that will remain constant.
ANTHONY J. D'ANGELO
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
MATTHEW 28:19-20 (NIV)
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
JOHN 14:12-14 (HCSB)
"I assure you: The one who believes in Me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in My name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it."
Yahweh, my prayer is for your favour to rest on me and my team in order that we might anticipate change that is necessary to be effective in our outreach. We desire growth and see change as an essential part of that process. Please grant us courage to see and do things differently so that we can connect with the 'now' generation and thereby see transformation taking place in the live of those who need you.
For just as each of us has one body with many members...