There is likely no word that strikes fear in the heart of the church than change. The basic definition of change is to make or become different. The core idea at the heart biblical salvation and sanctification is change. Change should always be connected to the mission and vision of the organization. Change for the sake of change is not helpful. Change for the sake of mission, vision and values is purposeful. [Read HERE on when change is helpful.]
There are a several factors related to change resistance in the local church.
- Path of least resistance is easiest.
- Change requires thoughtful leadership even more so than bold leadership.
- Change is countercultural with one’s denominational peers.
- Change is costly.
The ultimate measure of the local church is to see people following Jesus and living on mission with God. The old scorecard was based on brick and mortar mentality that reinforces church as a specific time and place of occurrence. However, churches that are seeing lives transformed hold themselves accountable for more. We can only expect what we inspect.
This is the last installment in a series on how churches must evaluate their ministry vision, values and methods. Below are links to the previous three posts in this series.
We are drawing our principles and applications from . In this last post, we will focus on vv 46-47:
Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Life transformation is a process not a destination. The text says that the work of God that was happening in the early church community was day by day. God’s people cannot be content with business as usual in church (sing a little, pray a little, preach a little, go home). No one ever reaches the point of being everything God has redeemed them to be on this side of eternity. The healthy Christian life is to be one of continual, demonstrative growth in love for God and others.
Choosing transformation means embracing change. Evangelism was the result of the transformation happening in the people’s lives through the spiritual disciplines. A lack of evangelism in a Christian or local church’s life is evidence of no spiritual growth and disobedience. Transformation of individuals, families and communities happens at the same pace as the gospel is being proclaimed.
What are the changes that God’s people must embrace in the local church to put the church on the trajectory of seeing lives transformed more and less of the traditional trappings of the institutional church?
- Attitude Change … We must be people of faith. Faith is taking God at His Word and living like it.
- Behavior Change … We must be obedient people of faith. Obedience is doing what God says, when He says it with the right heart attitude.
- Commitment Change … We must be surrendered people. Surrender is being willing to do what God says to do.
In their book Transformational Church, Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer write, “We cannot choose whether change will come or not. But we can choose whether to embrace it or resist it. It is critical to choose the kind f change that advances the work of God in us personally and in the world for the sake of His Kingdom.”