Monday, May 11, 2009

Constant Change is Here to Stay

I first saw that catchy and ironic phrase on a school billboard some years ago. However true that statement was back then, it is ever so more true today. Change is the deal. Change is happening and won't stop happening. It is accelarating, as it climbs onto and crowds its way in to our neat little world(s) at a breathtaking pace. Resist? You might just as well stand in the Pacific and push back against the breaking surf or surging tide. Constant change is here to stay. So, how do I move with change, find God's hand in the midst of it, and adapt/adjust rather than engage in the futility of denial or resistance? How do I make predictions on how change will impact me and mine? How do I prepare? How do I measure the future when it comes to our nation, the Church, or the world at large? How do I excuse myself from the luxury of ignoring change and (to quote the tune) "turn and face the strange"?

These are questions I find myself seeking to answer, re-answer and re-re-re-answer as change itself undergoes evern more change. I really do lay awake at night (or in the very, very early a.m.) thinking about these things. What would happen, for example, if the government removed all the tax exempt privileges now enjoyed by the American Church? What would happen when, suddenly, the property tax burden and the massive drop in contributions suddenly made thousands of church buildings a burden instead of a blessing? What would happen to preaching, fellowship, discipleship and evangelism if we lost our dependence on the way things have "always been" when it comes to doing church? How many of those who attend church now would still identify with The Faith if doing so meant being ostracized, locked out of jobs, passed over for promotions, or even openly persecuted? How will the church in the US handle the re-positioning of ecclesiastical influence and church power to the Global South rather than Euro-American Christendom?

How will the next generation's search for God engage or bypass the church as it is now constituted? How much time is there on the ticking clock of massive shifts that will engulf the church, the culture, the economy and world influence? "Don't think about it. Just keep doing business as usual" is not an option. Constant change is here to stay. When a ship goes into a squall, it reefs its sails, sometimes lashes its rudder, battens the hatches and perhaps even dumps much of its weighty cargo. What are we doing in our own lives to prepare for the changes we will face? What is expendible, what is non-expendible? What matters? What doesn't? What will come through the next wave of transformation and what will be brought down by its surging power? When I read the messages from Jesus to the seven churches in Revelation, I realize that Jesus is in the midst -- always. But that fact is not a recipe for avoiding change, but rather for embracing it in a manner empowered by grace. May God help us to do so.

The little video at was screened at the Vineyard Conference in Galveston prior to a message from one of the speakers. Watch it and see what comes up for you! (Sorry, it had problems uploading to blog, but just click the link, watch, and be amazed).

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