I’ve always been bewildered by the fear of change in church. I know there is a justifiable concern about doing new things and that the new things line up with what scripture tells us. But many churches I have encountered in the past take change as an attack on Jesus himself.
I’ve always compared need for change in church to the medical industry. They’re very similar. They both designed to help people and restore them, so I think it fits very well.
Suppose you go to a hospital to get some surgery on a hurt knee. They bring you in and after filling out some paperwork they take you back to the OR. You roll in to see the doctor in some clothes he wore out on a hike, his hands covered in dirt and sweat. On the cart beside him, you see his arsenal: a bottle of Jack Daniel’s for anesthesia, a rusty handsaw for disection, and a wooden peg.
Of course, you would immediately limp out the door hoping that the orderly is small and slow.
Sadly, this has been the state of change in the church today. We have been using outdated methods that people don’t get. We’re still trying to ‘fix their knee’ but in a way that was relevant to the people back then. And just like we would retreat the hospital, people, both Christian and non-Christian alike, are fleeing the church in droves.
Now imagine that the next day you are walking down the street and a guy that notices your limp says he can fix your knee. He takes you to a smaller building he’s converted into a super-clean up-to-date Surgery center. He uses the latest technology to cleanly and easily repair your knee and gets you back up and going. His methods are new and unique, and he’s using cutting edge technology, and he’s in a place that you wouldn’t expect a ‘surgeon’ to be, but he’s still serving the same purpose, fixing your knee. And he’s more effective at fixing your knee than what the hospital would have done for you.
This is the change that the church is beginning to make. The mission is still the same, it’s just the methods that are changing. Some of these changes are extreme, some are uncomfortable, sometimes even scary, but it’s a necessary step we as the church are overdue in taking. We have to adapt our methods to fit the culture we are in.
I’m excited to see what the next 25 years holds for Christianity and the church. So many changes for the better are to come in this new generation and I predict a new revitalized Church to be the engine that gets the revolution going.