For much of my professional career, I was charged with designing and implementing major, organization wide change in some of the largest corporations in the USA. This was never an easy task. People generally just don’t like change. The fight it, both overtly and covertly.
Change can be frightening. There is often risk involved. And change takes us out of our comfort zones. In my own case of designing and implementing change, it has even gone to the point of my being shot at by disgruntled folks desiring the status quo.
These changes involved every aspect of the companies I worked with… structure, policies and procedures, mission and culture. It was the last two that usually proved to be the most difficult.
“We’ve always done it THIS way” is very powerful.
Another oft used saying is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
Many of us don’t want to get out of our comfort zones. Why? Well, they’re COMFORTABLE! There’s little risk inside the comfort zone.
Yet the world changes around us. We have to keep up or stagnate. And this is happening within many of our churches.
A simple example occurs every Sunday during worship services. Many of us tend to sit in the same place, near the same people each week. In some sanctuaries, pews are even assigned to individuals or families.
Imagine what would happen if the pastor asked everyone to get up and move, to sit with someone they didn’t know well, to hear the message from a different place, from a slightly different perspective. Many would grumble, hesitant to engage even in this small change. When I mentioned this to a member of our church staff, her response was “You’re brave!”
If this would be a “brave move,”, imagine the hesitation to do something really meaningful… like getting outside of the building, the “sanctuary” of our comfort zones, and become more active in the world?
Jesus sent His disciples out into the world. He sent them to spread the Good News, to preach and teach. Even more important, He sent them to serve… to cure, to feed, to clothe, to attend to the poor and elderly.
It is not enough. It is not what Jesus commanded us to do. His command was to LOVE. And we love by doing, by being active, by going into the world on a continual basis.
My own church is in this transition. It is not well understood or accepted. A part of the “problem” is in communication, be it from the pulpit or any of the other means we have in communication. It will take a continuous, concentrated, coordinated effort for people to even understand what is happening, much less accept it.
Jesus came to SERVE. As Christians, we are all called to do the same.
Alive in The Word