A noted theologian once said, “The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order.”
In my humble view, these are deep and profound words. Change is a part of life and requires our willingness to accept it, even though it is often difficult to do so. We do have a choice to accept or reject change, yet unfortunately, far too many reject it and miss out on the blessings of life.
Often times change in the church creates turmoil and havoc; it has even caused the church to experience division which in some cases has led to a church split — all because of change.
Wisdom would dictate to us that we need to grasp and embrace change in order to grow spiritually. Life is a balancing act and our lives are constantly changing. I believe that the church must adapt to change to be relevant in this ever changing society, and must have the faith to find opportunity in change.
The church that will continue to grow spiritually will need to find a balance between traditional and contemporary, and even incorporate things like social media. When a church is not willing to make some necessary changes, it will die. The church can maintain integrity to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and still incorporate changes.
The Word of God in Proverbs says, “Where there is no vision, the people will perish.” It is amazing how easily we can say these seven words, “we never did it this way before.” Think about it: Those words are full of negativity. We walk by faith, not by sight, and anything you do over a period of time the same way can become meaningless; this applies to all of life.
Instead of resisting change, let us seek to embrace change. It will cause our churches to grow, our individual lives to grow, and our knowledge of God to grow. Just remember changes occur every day; even our bodies are changing every day. Look around and see all the changes in our world. They are not all bad. Sometimes I chuckle when people remark about the good old days. I certainly don’t want to go back to those good old days; those days brought a lot of pain and misery to many.
Everyone knows how much I love butterflies. I have butterflies throughout my home, the church and my office. The butterfly goes through a transformation in order to become the beautiful creature we see every day. In 2nd Corinthians 5:17 we find these words, “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creature.” That is to say a radical change has taken place. Our old lives are made new.
My life is enriched when I am with people who have a desire to make a difference in our society, and want to bring about change.
I applaud our President, Barak Obama, who is seeking to change the course of America and our world. His commitment to seek to provide better protection for people with gun control legislation was a change that was rejected. It was rejected by those who are more interested in their own political agendas than the wellbeing of people.
I applaud pastors and preachers who seek to change the social ills in our country, as well as persons of all walks of life who are not satisfied with the status quo and want to change things to make life better. I pray you will have the courage to change things that need to be changed based on your spiritual conviction, and that you will not be guided and directed by what is politically correct or socially accepted.
Prayerfully, you are an individual who embraces change. Together we can make a difference in the lives of God’s people, changing the things that need to be changed. I leave you with the Prayer of Serenity, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Rev. Quann is the pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church of Penilyn.