WELCOME CHANGE. Be curious about new ideas, perspectives, and approaches. Get excited by the possibilities that change can bring. What worked in the past won’t always work in the future, for God is doing new things. The new year has happened! How many of you have written a check with a new year on it? I got my first one right, but I’m sure I’ll write the wrong year soon. Change is inevitable, inescapable. Every minute passes and leads us to the next. Every hour, every day, every month, every year. Change can bring fear. The unknown of something new is a challenge. Be curious about change, anticipate it, be prepared for it! What the church did in the past won’t work in the future. The change brought on by COVID forced us to re-think church. How do we reach people who cannot worship in person? Livestream took off. My church was not prepared. We talked about it in the far distant future. When our sanctuary was closed, we found new technology and produced our first live stream service. It was not the best, but we took on the challenge and over time learned more, invested more, and now produce a quality product. We are encouraging our congregation to come back and be a part of the in-person community. There is tremendous value in being physically together, however the fact is, that some will never come back. However, now we have a tool to reach out of town members, the sick, homebound and potential new members can now participate in weekly worship. Look at ZOOM technology. I had used it occasionally in the past to re-broadcast a worship service to someone who was forced to stay at home and deal with an illness. Now, I use ZOOM almost every day. I have become quite good at it! Now I can meet with people effortlessly around the world. I have friends today solely because of ZOOM. I have had the privilege of being a part of a new church start reaching across the US by being online exclusively. We are reaching a population that never would have stepped a foot in a brick-and-mortar church! We are having people come to Christ almost every week because of us doing something new. We have a challenge in welcoming change. What can we do differently this week or this month or this year, that we have never done before? How can we evangelize to people in exciting new ways that we have not done before? In order for the church to reverse our decline is to reach the unchurched. That probably won’t happen inside the walls of your church. How do we use the power of the Holy Spirit to think outside of the box and do something new? The New Testament speaks several times about the need for change. Paul writes to the Corinthians about change. He encourages them in the changes that they are dealing with. Challenge the leaders in your church to embrace change in 2023. Create something new that your church has never done before to reach out and make new disciples of Christ. I will be personally seeking new ways for myself in 2023.
“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.”
(Mark 2: 22)
“And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!””
(Revelation 21: 6)
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
(2 Corinthians 5: 17)
Ideas for Action: This is a simple one, so try it. Sit in a different pew in the sanctuary next Sunday. See what happens.