There are many articles and blogs addressing the subject of change. The church is one of the last places people seem to be willing to accept and go with the flow of change. I find this to be very interesting due to the fact that everything else in our lives changes almost on a weekly basis. Weather, work, school, clothing sizes (for children and adults), homes, and budgets are a few examples. Change is inevitable.
Familiarity gives us a comfortable feeling. Change is uncomfortable. Comfortable means no action and very little desire to approach something differently. Change means experiencing a new way of life and can lead to growth. As we go through changes, I believe it is important to include a time of grieving but also include a time of celebration. If we seriously want to move towards the future in our faith communities, it will involve the next generation in the leadership of the church. That means change.
I like to use the analogy of moving to a new home as an example of a different perspective on change in the church. Military families, on the average, move every three years. They move across the country and across the world. There are times when not only the location changes, but the language and culture as well. How do these families cope? Granted there are some who do not adjust as there are some in our churches who do not cope well with change. Ready or not, it happens.
Let’s take a look at some initial steps a military family goes through when they adjust and look forward to each change of house and location:
In most places in the country, the look and feel in our communities is changing. When you reflect on this list of initial steps taken for a move, think about moving towards new ministries to stay in synch with the changing culture of the church. Which of these steps would you choose first if you were asked to move the faith community in a new direction? How does the fact that change is inevitable in all other places help you recognize the changes needed in the church?
My husband and I have lived in 11 houses in the last 35 years in different states and different countries. As I write this blog, we are in the process of moving again. The painter is blasting music, there is a person measuring rooms to replace carpeting, and I am sitting in an empty room with my laptop on an old tabletop trying to concentrate while thinking about change in our lives and how it can apply to change in the church.
Change invades every part of our lives so it is a good idea to adjust, reflect on the past, and move on with a positive attitude and an enthusiastic eye on the future.
It is never easy but I have often found that until you take active steps towards it, you cannot fully grasp what is in store for you.
When we moved to Japan, I cried all the way there. When we moved back to the States, I cried all the way home. What once seemed scary and foreign soon became a natural part of our lives. So it can be for the church as we adjust to new ways of being the church. How exciting. Now that is something to celebrate!
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