This morning, I listened to Carey Nieuwhof podcast with Jon Acuff. One quote really struck a chord and has been resonating over and over in my mind.
Acuff said, “Everything changes. It either grows or it dies.”
In the church, we often hear the tired mantra of how people are resistant to change. Sure, it is true. People are often uncomfortable with change. Acuff’s quote implies that making the choice not to change will still result in change…growth or death. If something isn’t growing, it is dying. And, whether it’s growing or dying, it’s changing.
Of course, I’m not convinced that we don’t have a desire to change. Often, church leaders understand the need to change. In fact, church leaders often have a desire to change.
However, what trips us up at the stage of desire is fear.
When we have the desire to change, we have two basic choices: a) we embrace the vision of change; b) we allow fear of the unknown to rule the day.
When we embrace the vision, it leads to experimentation. Experimentation does not always lead to success, it does not always cause growth, but it does allow for the clarification and refinement of the vision.
When we embrace fear, it leads to stagnation. In stagnation, we revert back into the routine of “how we’ve always done things.” And, I think we can all agree that “the ways we’ve always done things” often just leads to the continuation of the status quo. And, the status quo often leads to a slow and painful death.
What will rule the day? Vision or fear? A compelling vision should be able to overcome fear. However, that’s not always the case.
If “the way we’ve always done it” was working, churches would be growing and reaching the unconnected. However, that just doesn’t seem to be the case for, let’s say 80% of churches.
If the church is serious about reaching unconnected people, we can’t continually cater to the past or allow the past to define our present and determine our future.