Change is a not only inevitable but, in most cases, necessary and ultimately good for us. Did you know the first automobiles built in the early 1900s didn’t have rear-view mirrors? Now on every windshield hangs what we have come to think of as an indispensable devise that we wouldn’t dream of driving without. The change was a good thing.
Though a rear-view mirror is an extremely valuable accessory, the little mirror takes up only about 5% of the windshield. What would happen if you spent most of your driving time looking into it instead of focusing on what is down the highway? My guess is that you would have a difficult time reaching your destination.
I use this illustration to point out that many church people are still spending a considerable portion of time looking backwards. They look back to what was a glorious time in their churches past when their pews were filled, and their budgets were exceeded with donations. Our memories of a time gone by are precious but not practical when it comes to leading and managing a church in a way that is outdated and no longer effective in this fast and furiously moving future.
As church it is important to have a healthy balance of our history while being mindful of the road ahead. We must keep our eyes on the highway of changing trends in technology, musical styles, language, dress, social-media and communications platforms that are being used today that are dramatically different from where we came from.
For us as leaders in the church that means taking notice of the signposts along the highway. These signposts indicate which way culture is moving and then it is up to us to make the necessary lane changes that can put us in a position to become relevant to millions of fellow travelers who sadly, no longer think the church speaks to them where they are, let alone where they are going.
One of the most radical changes the church has to face is that the evangelism practices of yesterday don’t work today. Add that reality to the one that by and large your members aren’t even inviting their friends to church, let alone sharing their faith with anyone and you’ve got a recipe for the demise of your congregation.
The September– October issue of Net Results magazine addresses this directly. Written by and for pastors, Net Results has been delivering great ideas of growing churches since 1980.
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