Change doesn’t have manners and rarely knocks. Instead, it comes barreling in, giving us little time to react. And if we stand in its path long enough, trying to decide what to do, we are run over by the wheels of change.1
I recently read these words, and stubbornly gave in to their accuracy. Many of us feel we’ve run over by the wheels of change. Too many routines and patterns have been upended. Too many familiar and comforting aspects of life are nearly unrecognizable or gone altogether. Especially in the church.
Yet there is one constant. While the church’s methods have changed, the church’s mission is changeless. It is unalterable because it is created by God and revealed in Jesus Christ. We can’t vote on it or revise it. The mission is set. Jesus described the church’s mission through the teachings of The Great Commandment (love God and love your neighbor) and The Great Commission (make disciples). Commitment to these two principles help keep us on task.
Being rooted in this enduring mission from God can soothe and encourage the church right now. But methods are different. They must change. And the church’s methods need to change in order to carry out the mission in this pandemic-centric culture. We have experienced trauma on a global level and recovery will be slow. And as we recover, we must learn to juggle new methods, new ways to do things, new technologies, and new strategies.
The silver lining of new methods is that they can lead us back to the blessed, everlasting mission of the church. They can help the church to stay relevant to culture but not be overrun by useless change. We can remain effective in completing the mission God has set before us and find renewed commitment to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
The rollercoaster of life shows no signs of slowing down, and we may feel a constant need to discern new methods for the church. This will often require us to hold onto the core values of our changeless mission while being open, flexible, and innovative with our methods.
Finally, let’s acknowledge that change stirs up fear in most of us. Even well-calculated risks do little to lessen our fear of the unknown. So as change continues to come barreling in, let us boldly engage in the new methods that will keep us focused on our divinely sanctioned mission to love God, love others, and serve the world.
Love ya bunches,