We worship an eternally unchanging God, as seen in a book whose newest parts are almost 2,000 years old. That’s a lot of stability.
So why does it seem like every church leader talks more about the things my church needs to change than the things that need to stay the same? Including the dozens of blog posts I’ve written about the need for change?
Do we think we need to stay cool and cutting edge or we’ll lose this generation to something even cooler? That may be why some church leaders talk about change. But it’s not the case for me (and I don’t think it is for most of us.)
Keeping up with the latest fads is a fool’s errand. The gospel isn’t cool. And trying to make it cool is a losing battle.
So why all the change talk? Here are 7 reasons:
1. No One Needs Help to Stay the Same
Giving in to inertia is easy. It has a powerful gravitational pull. If we don't actively resist it, we will succumb to it.
The people who want to stay the same are probably not even reading this or other leadership blogs.
Want to stay the same? That’s easy enough to do on your own.
2. I’m Not Perfect Yet – And Neither Is the Church
If you, like me, are less than perfect, you need to change.
(And if you think you are perfect, you need more than a change, you need therapy. Or an exorcism.)
I’m blessed to serve a great church body. It’s an amazing group of passionate, worshipful, missional servants of Jesus. But we’ve never gotten any of that perfectly, yet.
What we get wrong – or even good, but less than perfect – we need to change.
3. Learning Requires Changing
I’m still growing, learning and trying to get better every single day.
The day I stop changing is the day I die. Mentally, spiritually and emotionally, if not physically.
4. The Gospel Is About Change
The central message of the Bible and our faith is resurrection, salvation, renewal, transformation and rebirth.
In other words, change.
If you can’t get on board with change, you’re missing out on what following Jesus is all about.
5. Not Changing Is Not Healthy
The alternative to change isn’t stability. It’s stubbornness. A hardening of our hearts that need to remain soft in the hands of Jesus.
Change is hard. Not changing is worse.
6. Jesus Never Changes, But I’m Not Him
When change is in the air, some people see a slippery slope – that if we change our methods, we’ll end up changing our theology. And we can rattle off a list of circumstances where that seems to be the case.
But I’ve found that growing stubborn and refusing to change is as likely to lead to bad theology as changing the things that need to be changed.
Jesus never changes. Even if we change our theology about him, it never changes him.
But if I’m going to become more like him, I have to change.
7. If I’m Asking Others to Change, I Need to Model It
On Sundays, we preach about how people’s lives need to change to become more like Jesus. But the preaching will ring hollow if my life doesn’t match my words.
People need to see a regular example of renewal and transformation in my life and the life of the church I’m pastoring.
We may have a testimony about how Jesus changed our lives at salvation, but the longer we live and the further that recedes into our past, the less it means to those who are needing Jesus’ help today.
Jesus doesn’t just change us at salvation. We’re supposed to be constantly transformed by the renewal of our minds (Romans 12:2). If the only time Jesus changed me was many years ago at salvation, it will seem less like biblical transformation and renewal, and more like trading one set of static ideas for a different set of static ideas.
Yes, we should lock in on truth when we find it. But that truth is found in Jesus, not the pastor’s stubbornness about extra-biblical mannerisms and methods.
People need to see that I’m as willing to be changed, renewed and transformed by Jesus today as I was at the moment of my salvation. Until we get to heaven, change, growth and renewal must always be a central part of our lives as Christians and church leaders.
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