One of the things this means for First Free and other churches is that we must change and adapt if we want to remain relevant to the culture and hope to see growth. Let me clarify what I mean by change and adapt. God's word, the Gospel, Jesus and the church as Jesus intended it to be, have always been, are now, and always will be relevant without our help. These must never change.
But we often hold on to extra-biblical traditions and ideas that severely limit our ability to communicate with a young generation. Satan's goal is to blind the minds of those who don't know Christ or the Gospel, and may I be so bold as to say we often help by handing out our blinders such as inauthenticity, traditionalism, and political struggles within the church driven by fear and selfishness. Today's churches must change in these kinds of things.
God's desire is to enlarge his family. (2 Peter 3:9) This matters to him and it should matter to us. If people who are lost forever without the Gospel matter...and if the church of the future matters...we must embrace the pain of change for the win of more people seeing Jesus.
Change impacts us emotionally. Change is hard on us. That is why we resist it so much. Would you help me reach our current culture - which is shaped by its technology and entertainment more than its religious and historical roots - by accepting some changes?
Would you ask yourself the following questions as I had to ask myself:
Will I place any need to control, which is based on fear, on the altar of sacrifice and rely on the Holy Spirit? Will I trust the undersheperds of the church without the red tape of 'this is the way it has always been done'?
Will I be willing to take risks, spend money, change names, reconstitute, relaunch, venture into new fields of ministry by faith, rather than remaining safe and comfortable in my holy huddle?
Will I get over my demand for my own preferences to be met? Will I welcome newcomers with love and wisdom and listen and learn from them rather than leaving the responsibility of adaptation to them?
Will I change to reach the current culture knowing I will have to change again in the methods of ministry?
P.S. This Sunday, Pastor Brian Abbott, will be preaching as we move along in the series Unleashed! Come and listen to his message, Strengthening the Church!