Don’t you just hate it when a restaurant removes your favorite item from the menu? Whether it is the shamrock shake from McDonalds, the fact that Chick-fil-a changed their sauces. There’s nothing worse than walking up to a restaurant counter and seeing that the changes they have made affects us. Don’t get me started on all the IOS updates your phone has to have. How dare a business I use change something without consulting me. I am paying for their salaries with the couple of singles and twenties I shell out. Yes, the logic of that argument is borderline stupidity, however, think about how we all act when we see change in the Church.
Change is one thing that does not come easy to any church. Which is pure irony; For the church is the place where God cultivates people to change. Since the inception of the church in Acts chapter 1, change has been an immense struggle. Acts chapter 15 saw the first sight of change, which saw the breaking of social restraints. Meaning no longer were Jewish customs or laws necessary for salvation. This was such a struggle in the early church that this argument had to go all the way up to Jerusalem to the apostles Peter and John. Where Peter’s famous line of Stop putting a yoke on people that your fathers before you couldn’t even bear.
Since then we have seen virtually every aspect of the church change: Communion, worship, preaching style, pastors roles, and that thing we once knew as Sunday School. Sadly, none of these changes came with harmony for everyone. In fact, these changes brought hatred, discontent, malice, and the breaking of unity for so many. Why did this happen? Because we as selfishly sinful church attenders treat the church like Burger King. We want it our way or we will pack up our singles and twenties and go.
The past 30 years have brought some huge changes to the church, but none bigger than worship style and the use of technology/media. As a Pastor that is now in his late 20s ministering to a church on the edge of the Bible belt of this country, I see Christians often break unity because of their own selfish vanity to have the church the way they like it. Let me start off with the solution to this problem by saying this: “Outside of us loving our neighbors and loving God, I believe that every aspect of the church can and should experience change”. When those changes take place more people who don’t know Christ might see him.
I see Christians often break unity because of their own selfish vanity to have the church the way they like it.
When we look at worship style and use of media, these changed because styles of music and the use of technology in our culture today. Yes, I know the church should be set apart from the world. But, please stop it with the notion that a church that is relevant is a church that is worldly. The mission of the church is to reach and save the lost, not make everyone in the room comfortable and happy.
Yes, I know the church should be set apart from the world. But, please stop it with the notion that a church that is relevant is a church that is worldly.
What I am saying is if we see a way to reach people in the culture, by changing something in the church, then it is worth it. The only thing that does not change is the Gospel. Church, there is nothing found in the Gospel that says that worship cannot be led by an up and coming pop or rap artist. There’s also nothing found in the Gospel message that says church should be something that that meets every interest you have. The only interest that we have should be how do we win people over to Christ, and if that means I, who already knows Christ, must sacrifice my methodology of worship, then I will gladly lay it down. For the dying church will breathe with it’s last breath “But, this is the way we’ve always done it”.
A significant amount of time and relations have been sacrificed, due to our selfishness as Christians. We are now looking at 33,000 different protestant denominations. Churches need to stop dividing and we as Christians need to stop leaving our churches, we need to not take it personally that the worship team does not play the song we want, or God forbid we hire staff members with full sleeve tattoos. “Its not about you!” It’s definitely not about me as a pastor.” It is and should always be about Christ, and making him known to the world!” We have lost too many people, because of our “have it your way” attitude with church. Church, maybe the time has come for us as a whole to rethink how we approach change in the church. Then fully embrace the fact that the church needs to be relevant to the culture today.
Let me finish with multiple pleas for the many different people reading this.
- For the Church
- Remember you are not the only one in the room.
- Stop gossiping and threatening to leave every time it is not your way.
- Notice that the change could presently be meant for someone outside the walls.
- Have joy in the fact that you might no longer be a spiritual infant and the church need not to cater to you.
- For Pastors
- Explain why the change is coming.
- Take input from others.
- If the change does not work show some humility and admit you’re wrong.
- Do not give up, for even the toughest of soils can be tilled by God.
We all must admit that we are the problem the church has. To many years of selfishness, envy, and contentment. From contentment we’ve brought our own agendas into the church. We have to find the courage to say, “I know I’m the problem, how can we make the church God’s outstretched hand again.” Jeff wrote last summer a post titled I Am The Problem in this he closed with the following, “We are all part of the problem, but that’s who Jesus came for; those who know they are the problem and need a solution.” Let us all cast off our agendas, which mostly comes from nostalgia of what church was like when we were kids. Then look at the upcoming generations and boldly declare “we are making church a place for you.”