Recently, I was asked, “What do you think is the most important issue facing the church today?” My answer is not about politics, drugs, teenage sex, or pop culture. My answer is simply one word: Change.
For every generation in the church, the issue is the same. The world around us changes quickly, and people in the secular culture adapt to those changes quickly. However, churches are notoriously resistant to change. Every new generation thinks the one before it is too stuck in their “style” of church, and they’re right.
The church must not change for change’s sake (as I already mentioned, I made that mistake already), but I believe the church must always be looking to the horizon for new ways to improve ministry and evangelism. Often, this means looking to the youth ministry and adopting some of their methods. It means leveraging technology for ministry. It means sacrificing the idols of comfort, preference, and tradition (even new traditions). It means always seeking to be relevant to the culture while never compromising the truth.
The mission of the church will never change, but our methods must! Again, change is not done for change’s sake; it is done for the sake of our mission. Historically when we find churches not fulfilling their mission, it’s because their methods stopped changing. This occurs when a method becomes a tradition, and the tradition eventually becomes an idol. Every church (even today’s most contemporary churches) must face the altar of sacrifice and ask themselves this all-important question: “Am I willing to give up my preferred way of doing things in order to reach more people?” It’s vital that we remember when we stop changing, we stop.