Change in the church is healthy, here’s why.
God doesn’t change, but He is constantly renewing and adapting His methods to reach people with His message (Hebrews 13:8, Isaiah 43:19).
Change is necessary to deliver the message of Jesus to a diverse audience. The apostle Paul understood the need to modify the way he presented the Gospel depending on his audience (1 Corinthians 9:22). But no matter who he was talking to, he never changed the message. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Changing the way things have always been done can be a risky proposition. Change has been known to divide the younger members of a church against the older ones. How do we do what God has called us to do in an interesting and pertinent way while honoring and respecting the past?
Three Questions to Ask Before Making Changes in the Church
1. Why did we start doing what we now want to change?
Look at why things were done in a certain way in the past. Did that order of worship result in creating an atmosphere where people could hear from the Holy Spirit? Has the number of salvations decreased, and would changing the order of worship or style of music be more conducive to people hearing from God?
2. Can we build off what already works?
Maybe we don’t need to change an entire program but use the parts that are still working. Change for change’s sake isn’t a great idea. If what we’ve always done is still working, maybe what we need is to adapt to a changing audience or technology.
3. Will a new method resonate with a larger audience?
As long as the message isn’t altered to what’s popular in culture rather than what’s biblically true, the method of delivering that message is wide open. Some traditional habits of the church can feel stifling and out of date to younger people who are used to a faster pace or more technology. We don’t want them to miss the message because they’re rolling their eyes at outdated technology or songs they’re completely unfamiliar with. At the same time, the change must respect the older members who derive comfort from familiarity and whose chosen techniques were responsible for the success of the church in the past.
Change is always a challenge, especially when it concerns something as deeply personal as how our church worships, preaches, and reaches people. But when we let leading the lost to Jesus outweigh personal preference, it becomes easier to let go of old habits and adopt new ones to show visible love...new habits which one day we may fight to keep from changing again (Matthew 22:29).