Change is difficult. Change in a church is even harder, sometimes, nearly impossible. So what do you do if you are trying to change the culture of a traditional church that is dying? First let me tell you what you don’t do. I most always suggest to churches that they don’t radically change their worship service.
Remember Jesus words, “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruining the skins. New wine is stored in new wineskins so that both are preserved.” Matthew 9:17 (NLT) The futility of trying to attract new people to a dwindling traditional worship service would require some kind of miracle. In the gospel according to Kyle, I often say “It is easier to give birth to a new church service than it is to resurrect a dead one” Kyle 1:01
But I believe the more important issue at stake is to honor the people who have come before who enjoy the worship service they are attending. Think about it, old wine is good, full, rich, something to be valued to be valued. The people who have for years enjoyed a traditional worship format should be allowed to continue. That is truly honoring our fathers and mothers in the faith. Just as we honor our older faithful, we also should honor our younger believers with their ideas and expressions of faith. I always suggest adding an additional worship experience, a new wineskin to pour the new wine into so that both are preserved.”
Change is difficult, but the good news is that there are some things that never change.
God’s love never changes. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever”. Hebrews 13:8 No matter what happens to you one thing you can be sure of: God is not going to stop loving you God’s love never changes.
God’s word never changes. “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of our God shall stand forever.” Isaiah 40:8 God has established physical laws of the universe like gravity. These laws do not change because God’s word does not change. In the same way, God has established some moral and spiritual laws for this universe and if we break them or ignore them we suffer the consequences.
Finally, God’s purpose for His church never changes. “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ephesians 3:10-11
God’s plan from the beginning was that through the church of Jesus Christ, God’s purposes would be fulfilled. Throughout the years the church has changed as it had to. New wine must be poured into new wine skins to contain the effervescence of the Spirit, upholding the rich history of the old wine in the old wine skins and preserving them both.