My missionary/pastor father was born in 1928. I distinctly remember going on vacations where he wore a coat and tie every day – of vacation! That’s who he was and the generation of which he was a part. He went to church every time the doors were open, even when he wasn’t the pastor of the church.
It’s been 32 years since he died. And times have changed – dramatically. My children don’t go to church in “Sunday go to meeting” clothes. They wear what they wear to school – shorts, flip-flops, shirts (we usually do require a solid color shirt, not a logo shirt).
What else has changed in church from 30, 40, or 50 years ago? Actually, EVERYTHING!
- The music we sing to
- The instrumentalists
- The “hymnals”
- The pews
- What people wear
- The Bibles people bring (mine is on my iPhone)
- How people learn (in the middle of a Bible study, someone will pull up a doc from the internet)
- The “Sunday School quarterlies”
- Mission trips
- How we do missions
- How members support their church financially (electronic offerings are increasingly the norm)
- etc., etc.
I can’t think of a single area of church-life which has remained stagnant in the past 30 years (except maybe the sermon!).
Okay, now think 30 years from now to the year 2042. If you think we’ve had a lot of change in the past 30 years, it’s going to be increasingly exponential change in the next 30. That leads me to ask:
Are you being intentional in preparing your church for upcoming changes? OR Are you just going to let the changes happen to you?
Change will happen – you can’t stop time, don’t even try. But you can get ready for change. I’m not saying you have to embrace every change that comes along, but you don’t have to fight every change either. Pick and choose your battles (the best piece of advice my mom ever gave me!) – learn what changes your church should adopt and adapt to. If you resist change, your church might end up with closed doors. Your church will be stronger in the long run by developing a healthy attitude to change.