Saturday, February 24, 2007

HOW DO WE HANDLE CHANGE?

Change is a serious six letter word; especially within the context of the church Jesus leads. Why is it a problem and how can we faithfully maneuver through it's bewildering maze?

  1. Change is a characteristic of the Holy Spirit....Jn. 3:8. The person filled with the Holy Spirit will change like the wind changes.
  2. Unchange is a defining mark of fear. Some want to know how things will go and when they'll come about. Surely one can see from scripture God is neither definable nor predictable. To believe it of God, and yet fear it, leaves a mind full of contradiction.
  3. Learn to let go of the C-word....Control. II Cor. 5:14...the love of Christ controls us....yet some try to control the love of Christ.
  4. Be free to accept the truth that one can trust the Word of God. Change is always healthy when its anchor is Christ and its authorization is the empowering Word. Not all change is of God. It can be man's invention. Equally not all change is man's invention. It can be the leadership of the Spirit of Christ. The church of Christ has taken on many facets as doctrine which came from man's handiwork. Just one example is multiple elderships in one city. The New Testament always has one eldership over an entire city. I'm not believing we are going to ever change this one, but it explains why division among us is so rampant as we failed to base our moves upon the Word.
  5. Be honest. Which is it you believe because of the Word and which is it because of your emotion? This is a rugged test for each. Some just don't like change of any sort. This must be discarded along with the enormous fear that rides in the back seat of it. We are to grow. We are to mature. We are to increase. We are to change. Parts may be slow and others rapid; yet each should be different and new day by day.

Finally, change is not a dirty six-letter word. It is not a villain. It is a call from Jesus, the leadership style of the Holy Spirit, and a characteristic required by God.

4 comments:

Greg said...

Now ... how to get the people who think they are in control to hear what you've written! I think one of the greatest obstacles to change is lack of faith, or as you wrote it, learn to let go of the C word.

Not only do most elderships have the misguided conception that they are to be in control of a church, they also seem to see their role as that of maintaining status quo and, to the best of their ability, keeping as many as possible happy. With those two factors at work, it's no wonder for the past 20 years the churches of Christ have declined. You can't keep everyone happy. Jesus had twelve and couldn't keep twelve guys happy. Happiness is not our mission, but somewhere in their I think walking by faith is a part of our mission! Maintaining status quo always keeps us living in the past when God's kingdom is future-oriented.

Great post, Terry. As I read the various responses to your blogs, you're probably preaching more to the choir ... but let's hope it's going out to more than the ones who respond! Love you, brother!! Love your heart. Love your openness. Love your teaching. Love your friendship.

Liz Moore said...

It is so amazing how God speaks to us. I read your blog on Saturday about handling change and ironically the part about the New Testament church having one eldership over an entire city was interesting to me. It is one of those things I knew, but never really thought about. On Sunday morning, our leadership announced that a once 1000-member church that is now down to 150 members has asked to merge with us at Highland Oaks. Rather than just absorbing that church, they are going to become at second campus for Highland Oaks! With the same eldership over each building. We will both be Highland Oaks Church of Christ having services in 2 different buildings. Details are being worked out but we should be meeting in both places by the fall. Talk about change! And how exciting!! It is so amazing to be a part of this church and watch how man gets out of the way and just lets God work. Tim said, "We aren't afraid of brotherhood criticism, but of being inadequate for the task. The truth is that we are inadequate...and that's why it'll probably work. God will have to be in it. And if he is...everything's gonna be just fine." I could almost hear your voice in that :) This is a change we are so excited about and so glad to be a part of. We are so thankful for this call from Jesus!

Matt said...

I really see fear vs. grace as a tremendous issue. I think in the end it is not one or the other but a balance of both - leaning more toward grace than the other. I posted about this not too long back.

David U said...

I wish this post could get published in the Chronicle or some other leading publication. Great words of wisdom, TR!!

DU