Are you a pastor trying to make needed changes in the church, but meeting a lot of resistance every time you introduce something new, like a worship song, curriculum or order of service?
Here’s a universal truth that I discovered through decades of experience trying to bring needed change in a church:
New music is not worth fighting over. Neither is a new church name, new curriculum, new anything.
Yes, change may be necessary. But we need to get there by fighting the important battles, not the trivial ones.
Fighting over musical style, stage design and what we wear to church are as trivial as battles get.
So what is worth fighting for?
- Becoming a friendly church is a cause worth fighting for
- Reaching new people is a cause worth fighting for
- Getting greater involvement in worship is a cause worth fighting for
- Going deeper in prayer is a cause worth fighting for
- Better discipleship is a cause worth fighting for
- Reaching new generations is a cause worth fighting for
- Respecting previous generations is a cause worth fighting for
- Scriptural integrity is a cause worth fighting for
- Reaching out to the poor is a cause worth fighting for
- Becoming a more loving church is a cause worth fighting for
Whether those things happen with new music or old? Wearing formal or casual clothes? Teaching from old or new curriculum?
That’s not worth fighting over.
Emphasizes What Matters – And Only What Matters
What do we do when we’re certain that a change in the music or the curriculum or the order of service is necessary in order for us to win the causes that are worth fighting for? Keep emphasizing what matters and don’t get distracted in your heart or your message by things that don’t matter.
We need to spend less time saying things like “if we don’t introduce new songs we’ll lose the next generation” and “I can’t wait to start that new series this weekend!” and spend more time struggling with questions like “what are we really doing to reach the people no one else is reaching?” and “what does deeper worship actually look like?”
It’s important to keep the emphasis where it belongs. On the essentials like outreach, worship, prayer and discipleship. As pastors, people need to see that the mission matters more to us than the method. Even if it means giving up that cool, new method we really love – or abandoning the older method we’re comfortable with.