Many people are uncomfortable with the words change and church being in the same sentence. Some people are comfortable with the way things are, and don’t want anyone changing things up. Many Christians want things only done one way. Because of this many people have often come to blows over change in the church. Some want to change everything. Some want to change nothing. There must be balance. (And then there are others who are content doing nothing but sitting back and complaining.)
Actually, change is inevitable. In just the past 10 years, you and I have changed physically, emotionally and spiritually. Your hair has changed. Your weight has changed. Your furniture has been moved. You are probably driving a different car. You probably now carry a cellular phone that you didn’t have 10 years ago. Your life and mine is full of changes. Not many things actually stay the same.
The same is true with the church. Change is inevitable. And for the church to grow and mature, it must change & make changes with the times. If we’re not willing to change, we’re not going to grow. But understand not all change is good. There are certain things that shouldn’t ever change. Our problem is figuring out what we can change and what we shouldn’t change. We sure don’t want to all change in an area God doesn’t want us to change. So what things are changeable and what things shouldn’t be changed?
1. Things that are Changeless in the church…
- The Master is Changeless (Hebrews 13:8). Jesus should always be at the center of everything we do. Jesus needs to be the focus of the church. We need to strive to be like him, serve like him and love like him. Don’t change Jesus.
- The Message is Changeless (John 3:16). Our message must be the gospel. The message must be that eternal life is available for everyone. Don’t ever allow the message to change.
- The Mission is Changeless (Matthew 28:18-20). The great commission wasn’t the great suggestion. It isn’t an elective. Jesus said our mission is … go. Let’s don’t change the mission of the church.
2. Things that are Changeable in the church…
- Our Methods should Change (1 Corinthians 9:20-22). We can’t always keep doing the same things the same way. I know that the Gospel Meetings of old that were used for reaching out to the community don’t work here like they used to. So we’ve had to change our “methods” of outreach. We’ve replaced Gospel Meetings with Friends Day and other community outreach events. Don’t be afraid to change methods for outreach, because the 7 last words of a dying church are, “We never did it that way before.”
- Our Mindset should Change (Philippians 2:5). Our mindset needs to change to be more like Jesus’ every day. Jesus was a giver and a servant, and that’s the mindset we should have. Every person has a gift that God wants them to use to show others Christ. We need to become people who aren’t afraid to wash feet and get our fingernails dirty. Our mindset is how we think, and we need to get off our rear-ends and be more servant oriented like our Savior. Don’t be afraid to change your mindset.
- Our Ministries should Change (Acts 10:1-48). Who are you ministering to? Jesus ministered to those who no one else would. He ministered to the sinner, the tax collector, the prostitute and the less fortunate. How many times do we overlook the drug addict, the homeless and the divorcee to reach out to the new middle class family that moved into town? It’s time we start looking for the ones that Jesus would look for. We definitely need to change our ministries.
It’s been said there are 3 kinds of people in a church: Risk Takers, Care Takers and Undertakers.
- Risk-takers are willing to try something different to reach more people with the message of Jesus.
- Care-takers are just satisfied doing what they’ve always done. Don’t stir the water and leave things just as they are.
- In the last 100 years more churches have closed than opened. We don’t need more undertakers .
What kind of “taker” will you be? Hopefully someone who’s not afraid of change. Hopefully you’ll be a “risk-taker” for Jesus.