When we choose to move forward, we’re more conscious of the change and its inherent threats. When we stand still, we’re less aware of the dangers.
We need to recognize that the world is changing. Instead of clinging to the past, coasting in the present, or chasing the future, we need to do what the Apostle Paul did – use the best methods available to communicate the gospel’s eternal truths. (1 Cor 9:20-23)
For example, you and I are communicating through a blog. Blogs are so new that the term “blog” (short for weblog) only came into existence about 15 years ago.
Most small church pastors can’t travel to seminars and conferences. Many can’t even afford a copy of my book. But most of them have access to a computer, so a blog lets them get all the info they need for no cost, at any time. This new technology is simply the best way to communicate the message.
Adapting to new technology hasn’t compromised my message. Not adapting to it would have – by limiting who has access to it.
When we properly evaluate the current needs of our culture and take steps to meet them by using the best means to communicate the message, we’re less likely to coast.
Coasting is compromise.
Proactive, Not Reactive
For most of history, experience was the primary asset a pastor brought to a church. Not any more. Now, adapting is more important than experience.
And it ticks me off. Here I am in my mid-50s, with several hard-earned decades of experience under my belt, and now all that experience matters less than it ever has.
It’s not that experience is unimportant. It just needs to be funneled through our ability to anticipate and adapt in order to capitalize on its value.
But adapting isn’t about being reactive. That’s the challenge many of us have when we worry about compromise. It isn’t about putting our finger to the wind, then giving people what their itching ears want to hear. (2 Timothy 4:3)
Adapting is proactive. It’s about paying attention to the people God has given us to pastor. Both inside and outside the walls of our church.
It means noticing how young people communicate so we can join the conversation. It means adjusting the church schedule to fit the needs of parents who both have to work full-time jobs. It means paying attention to seniors so they don’t feel disconnected from the church they’ve supported for decades.
We don’t need more money or gadgets to pay attention to people’s needs. And it’s not a compromise of the gospel message to meet those needs in innovative, new ways. It’s right at the center of the gospel. (James 1:27)
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