Church revitalization pastors are often seen like the fabled monk who made a vow of silence. He was allowed two words per year.
After his first year, he spoke to the abbot. “Better food,” he said. The abbot appoints a new head cook.
Year two the monk said, “Warmer blankets.” New blankets show up in his cell.
Year three, “I quit.”
“Good! All you’ve done is complain.”
The way church members see it, all pastors who want to lead change do is complain. We gripe about the things that need fixing.
Their natural reaction is to resist.
And that’s a good thing.
Resistance to change protects churches from the whims and fads of the moment. It insures institutional survival across generations. It helps them stay on mission. They stand strong against the whirlwind of rapid cultural and social changes.
But when that steadfastness severs the church’s connection to the community it is called to serve. When it serves itself rather than the mission, change is imperative. If it still resists change, it becomes irrelevant. The next generation will drop out and disappear.
A church cannot and must not change its mission. That has remained unchanged throughout 2000 of church history. It will remain the same until the Lord returns.
Without compromising the mission, first order doctrine, or core values, churches must eventually change. The incidentals of how the church operates and how people relate to one another and the mission should be evaluated and revised. They should be updated to keep the church in contact with the mission and the ministry field.