I visited with a couple the other day that was absolutely scared to death of anything changing in their church. They knew their church was declining, drying up and dying, but they wanted nothing to do with trying anything new and expected everything to be left exactly the same as it always had been the past 50 years. They were comfortable with just showing up a couple of times a week as they always had.
“That’s impossible” I told them. “Change is both inevitable and essential to growth.” Then I continued, “If you don’t make some changes you’re church is going to continue to decline and eventually die.” From the looks on their faces you would have thought I’d just used the Lord’s name in vain. I remember thinking to myself, how can they read the book of Acts and not see all the changes that took place in that church?!
And then I heard them say those very words that must bring tears to the Lord’s eyes … it’s the last 8 words you’ll hear just before they close the doors of their church (or any church) for good…“But we’ve never done it that way before!”
We weren’t talking unbiblical changes here. I wasn’t suggesting they start sacrificing animals or worshipping a different god, but simple changes that could produce outreach to their community of lost people. I realize that change is a scary word for some long time church members, but our churches constantly must be looking for new ways to meet needs, reach the lost and serve their communities. Continuing to do the same things, they same way, will only bring the same result.
I’ve come away with the conclusion that people will change, and churches will change, ONLY when they care more about the lost than they do themselves.
“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.”
~ 1 Corinthians 9:19-23