Stability Zones are a practical means of expressing the theological essentials. They’re like the safety net that allows X Games stunt riders the freedom to try daring new feats in practice because there’s something to catch them when they fall.
The more a church is open to change, the more we must emphasize the principles that never change.
4. Follow the Change Pattern of Jesus and His Disciples
One of the most amazing and admirable characteristics of Jesus’ early disciples was their ability to walk away from centuries of extra-biblical traditions and embrace the core of the Gospel. On the outside, it must have appeared to many of their family and friends that they had rejected Jehovah himself. But they had done the opposite.
What was it that gave them the wisdom to know the difference between fringe traditions that could be abandoned (like circumcision and eating pork) and essential doctrines that needed to be strengthened (like monotheism and a biblical moral code)?
The best answer to that was actually given by enemies of the Gospel. “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13 - NIV) (emphasis mine)
They’d been with Jesus. There is no substitute.
It was Jesus himself who established the best pattern for church change. Five times in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus repeated “You have heard that it was said…” followed by “But I tell you…”
In doing so, he reminded us of the Old Testament law, validated the core of it, then strengthened its ultimate purpose with new teaching.
5. Communicate the Need For and Nature of the Innovation
Churches can handle change. But they can’t handle surprise. And they shouldn’t have to.
Here are three things need to be in place to give church members the best chance at embracing healthy change:
- They need to know why the old idea is being tossed