The weather changes. Last week we reached 95 degrees! Today it’s 65 degrees. As the saying goes, “If you don’t like Michigan weather, just wait, it’ll change!”
We’re about ready to experience the change from school year to summer time. We live behind the East Middle School in Farmington Hills and we watch the students as they play in the field for their physical education. With about a week left in their school year they seem to be moving slightly slower than when they first started the school year.
The face of the church changes. We’ve experienced 14 deaths in the last 14 weeks. We’ve also experienced 7 baptisms during the same time span. We’ve lost two of our younger couples with 5 children. We’ve gained six younger couples with 8 children. The only constant we seem to experience is that of change.
Our Men’s Saturday morning Study Group has been discussing Who Stole My Church?, a book by Gordon MacDonald. It is a fictional account of a New England church struggling with change. Some of the older members feel threatened when the younger members take a different approach to being the church. I think that’s the number one issue for the church today. How do we value our current members and yet remain open to value people who think and act out their faith differently?
MacDonald suggests that a lot of church people do things by habit. In other words, things are done because they are always done that way. People choose to do the things they do because they’re comfortable with them. I know that I enjoy my comfort zone. If I didn’t, it would be called my comfort zone!
But then again, there is my faith. Faith has got to be more than about our comfort zones. Faith has to be more than just about “me,” or even “us.” Faith is about the grace of God being made available to everyone in as many ways as we possibly can. Yes, as a church, we continue to find personal spiritual growth, fellowship, joy and the experience of worshipping a God who loves us always, but we also continue to ask ourselves, “So that?”
In other words, we grow and fellowship and worship so that not only can “we” become closer to God, but that “others” may experience the closeness of God in their lives through us. The bottom line is that it’s not just about us; it’s about God in us, with us, and through us for others. When we set our priorities with this in mind, then we can become embrace change as a possibility for us to exercise faithful discipleship.