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Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Church Must Change

People do not always resist change. They hardly ever resist something they want. They generally don’t resist raises or promotions. They generally don’t resist gifts or special dinners.

However, people just as generally cast a wary eye on changes that they feel that are thrust upon them. Many people resisted getting telephones, answering machines, microwave ovens, flat screen tv’s, computers and cell phones. Some people are still resisting some of these things. Maybe they didn’t notice but the world did not stop until they caught up.

The days of a church building being a large room with a pot bellied stove for heat and lanterns for light have long passed. It would be hard to have a growing church today which had no electricity, no air conditioning and no telephones. It is increasingly hard to have a growing church without a top notch website, social media and messages streaming on the internet.

I never dreamed I would write a blog, produce videos that can be seen around the world and communicate personally with people whom I will never meet when I entered the ministry. However, this is an increasing part of ministry today.

Some people would like to have church like it used to be. I always wonder what that means. Does that mean that they want it to sing the old songs with an organ and piano alone? Does that mean that they want the sermons to be forty-five minutes long? Does that mean they want everyone to come in coats, ties and dresses? Does that mean that everyone who comes to church is married, never divorced and will work at the same job until retired? Does that mean that the parents of the children who come to our church grew up in church and want their children to grow up in church too? I am afraid that ship has sailed. You may want a church like this but it won’t be a growing church if it doesn’t realize that the world around it has changed. People are going to hell every day and we must urgently share the gospel with them. We must speak in a language they understand.

Things are changing faster than they ever have before. Technology is driving that change. Last year a student died who attended Princess Anne High School. The students used social media to organize a memorial service to him within twenty four hours. Three hundred of the students came to our church on a Sunday afternoon for that service. That couldn’t have happened five years ago.

So, we keep the same message but deliver it in new ways to a world that is constantly changing. We change our meeting times, our means of communicating with the community and just about everything but the truth of the gospel to reach some. That has been and always will be the business of the church.
1 Corinthians 9:20-22 (NIV)
20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.

1 comment:

Pam said...

To me, "church like it used to be" would be to take the fellowship outside the church. When I was growing up my family and I rarely spent a Sunday afternoon alone. We were either invited to someone's house for dinner or had someone at our house. People don't do that so much anymore. We are so busy all week that we just think of getting out of church and back home and then the family scatters. I miss that so much. The church felt like a family back then. I am as guilty as everyone else but I sure would like to change that!