Church

The Church Needs to Change

Change is one thing that does not come easy to any church. Which is pure irony; For the church is the place where God cultivates people to change. Since the inception of the church in Acts chapter 1, change has been an immense struggle. But change is what the Church desperately needs.

Don’t you just hate it when a restaurant removes your favorite item from the menu? Whether it is the shamrock shake from McDonalds, the fact that Chick-fil-a changed their sauces. There’s nothing worse than walking up to a restaurant counter and seeing that the changes they have made affects us. Don’t get me started on all the IOS updates your phone has to have. How dare a business I use change something without consulting me. I am paying for their salaries with the couple of singles and twenties I shell out. Yes, the logic of that argument is borderline stupidity, however, think about how we all act when we see change in the Church.

Change is one thing that does not come easy to any church. Which is pure irony; For the church is the place where God cultivates people to change. Since the inception of the church in Acts chapter 1, change has been an immense struggle. Acts chapter 15 saw the first sight of change, which saw the breaking of social restraints. Meaning no longer were Jewish customs or laws necessary for salvation. This was such a struggle in the early church that this argument had to go all the way up to Jerusalem to the apostles Peter and John. Where Peter’s famous line of Stop putting a yoke on people that your fathers before you couldn’t even bear.

Since then we have seen virtually every aspect of the church change: Communion, worship, preaching style, pastors roles, and that thing we once knew as Sunday School. Sadly, none of these changes came with harmony for everyone. In fact, these changes brought hatred, discontent, malice, and the breaking of unity for so many. Why did this happen? Because we as selfishly sinful church attenders treat the church like Burger King. We want it our way or we will pack up our singles and twenties and go.

The past 30 years have brought some huge changes to the church, but none bigger than worship style and the use of technology/media. As a Pastor that is now in his late 20s ministering to a church on the edge of the Bible belt of this country, I see Christians often break unity because of their own selfish vanity to have the church the way they like it. Let me start off with the solution to this problem by saying this: “Outside of us loving our neighbors and loving God, I believe that every aspect of the church can and should experience change”. When those changes take place more people who don’t know Christ might see him.

 I see Christians often break unity because of their own selfish vanity to have the church the way they like it.

When we look at worship style and use of media, these changed because styles of music and the use of technology in our culture today. Yes, I know the church should be set apart from the world. But, please stop it with the notion that a church that is relevant is a church that is worldly. The mission of the church is to reach and save the lost, not make everyone in the room comfortable and happy.

Yes, I know the church should be set apart from the world. But, please stop it with the notion that a church that is relevant is a church that is worldly.

What I am saying is if we see a way to reach people in the culture, by changing something in the church, then it is worth it. The only thing that does not change is the Gospel. Church, there is nothing found in the Gospel that says that worship cannot be led by an up and coming pop or rap artist. There’s also nothing found in the Gospel message that says church should be something that that meets every interest you have. The only interest that we have should be how do we win people over to Christ, and if that means I, who already knows Christ, must sacrifice my methodology of worship, then I will gladly lay it down. For the dying church will breathe with it’s last breath “But, this is the way we’ve always done it”.

A significant amount of time and relations have been sacrificed, due to our selfishness as Christians. We are now looking at 33,000 different protestant denominations. Churches need to stop dividing and we as Christians need to stop leaving our churches, we need to not take it personally that the worship team does not play the song we want, or God forbid we hire staff members with full sleeve tattoos. “Its not about you!” It’s definitely not about me as a pastor.” It is and should always be about Christ, and making him known to the world!” We have lost too many people, because of our “have it your way” attitude with church. Church, maybe the time has come for us as a whole to rethink how we approach change in the church. Then fully embrace the fact that the church needs to be relevant to the culture today.

Let me finish with multiple pleas for the many different people reading this.

  •   For the Church
    • Remember you are not the only one in the room.
    • Stop gossiping and threatening to leave every time it is not your way.
    • Notice that the change could presently be meant for someone outside the walls.
    • Have joy in the fact that you might no longer be a spiritual infant and the church need not to cater to you.
  • For Pastors
    • Explain why the change is coming.
    • Take input from others.
    • If the change does not work show some humility and admit you’re wrong.
    • Do not give up, for even the toughest of soils can be tilled by God.

We all must admit that we are the problem the church has. To many years of selfishness, envy, and contentment. From contentment we’ve brought our own agendas into the church. We have to find the courage to say, “I know I’m the problem, how can we make the church God’s outstretched hand again.” Jeff wrote last summer a post titled I Am The Problem in this he closed with the following, “We are all part of the problem, but that’s who Jesus came for; those who know they are the problem and need a solution.” Let us all cast off our agendas, which mostly comes from nostalgia of what church was like when we were kids. Then look at the upcoming generations and boldly declare “we are making church a place for you.”

31 comments on “The Church Needs to Change

  1. Thanks for the insight. We, followers of Jesus the Messiah, do need to change. The word “repent” really means to change our mind. That is what Jesus challenges us to do. Be blessed. God is with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “there is nothing found in the Gospel that says that worship cannot be led by an up and coming pop or rap artist”

    Not per se, but there are a number of requirements in the NT that we ignore, that might eliminate some of these as well. Paul (1Timothy, and Titus) listed quite a few requirements for who should be considered for the position, as well as instructions to eject those who don’t live up to them.

    The breaking apart of churches goes back quite a way. In the 80’s a pastor friend of mine told me of how his church had just split…over an organ of all things. The organ had broken and would cost ~$3,000 to repair. A large number of the congregation objected to spending the money, not believing in any type of musical instrument, and that this was a sign that they were right. Had they never heard that David played the lyre?

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  3. While I do believe that unity is really a message that keeps coming full circle and something that is so important, I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with a church that has loud music or uses lots of media, etc

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    • You’re right there is nothing wrong with loud music or media; As long as we’re not just doing it for the sake of preference. We have to be intentional about growing the Kingdom of God, and that will look different for many churches.

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  4. A major problem in congregations I have known is the attitude “This is my church. It must do things my way.” (Pastors and members both.) No, this is Christ’s church. We are going to do things his way. We will keep the traditions that proclaim the Gospel, and we will explain those traditions so people find the Gospel in them. We will change things, not for the sake of change, but for the sake of proclaiming the Gospel in various ways to reach various people, and we will explain these changes so people find the Gospel in them. Tradition or change for any reason not connected to Christ’s priorities is merely trying to steal his church away from him. J.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well said! The point you make about finding gospel in tradition and change alike is so true. For the Church is the bride of Christ, and belongs to Him. Thanks for your feedback.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Mihaela Echols

    Change can be good depending on what it is As long as there is still truth being taught.

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  6. I believe that an intentional church, functioning as best it can for Christ, is like an outgrowth of the body of Christ and as such, lots of different churches make up the Church, but may have different giftings within the larger body. Some churches focus on missional work, some on recovery for addicts, some for evangelism. I like my worship music fairly loud and contemporary, my mom prefers hymns, we don’t have to like the same style of church. We should attend where we feel called to attend, but we should remember that the buildings and fellowship groups we attend are parts of a whole, and we are all subject to Christ’s authority.

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  7. I am in complete agreement with Jennifer’s comment – the amazing part of the Church is how unique each individual building can be while the core message, the Gospel, is the same. I am so glad that God made us all unique to play a unique role in His plan on this earth. Thanks for your insights!

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  8. Some change is good; some change is bad. Where does someone draw the line? If our church started to teach arianism instead of trinitarianism, would it be right to leave that specific church?

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    • The line is: Methods should change, structures should change, even our delivery of the truth should change. NEVER should the truth change, especially when it comes to the Gospel.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I believe a huge element to the healthiness of the church is diversity. When we as the global church affirm the various cultures and contexts represented, then we become more clear about what is core and essential, versus what is simply what we prefer or are familiar with.

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    • It is amazing to see worship done globally! My favorite time of worship was when I spent time in china, and while attending a church hearing a hymn and recognizing the song then those on my team singing in english. Thanks for your thoughts!

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  10. I disagree with the point over the music and worship style, but that’s too big of a thing to get into in a comment. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your thoughts, regardless! Interesting post!

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    • It is totally ok to disagree, I also want to mention that there is not ONE correct method to worship style. I just wanted to post that it is ok for the church to be relevant to culture when it comes to our worship methodology. Thank you for taking time to read my post.

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  11. mariewikle

    Things change, times change. We don’t do things they way our great great grandfathers did because times change. I don’t think i’ve ever seen a horse and buggy drive up to our church. people still drive up but a different method is used. This method isn’t bad, it’s just different.

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  12. Interesting perspective! Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. A few years ago our pastor’s father, who was 80+ years old at the time, said that he thought we should sing more modern worship songs to connect with younger church members. He was an example of a mature, selfless Christian man.

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  14. Mouth dropped, nodding in agreement and grateful someone took the time to articulate what is on a lot of people’s minds. I really appreciated this post and feel less alone in my mindset. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. As a child I remember our church getting new carpet. Daddy loves red and voted for it. When others voted for another color, my dad said, “I can worship just as easy on that color as red.” I didn’t know how amazing his response was until I grew up and attended some other churches. We get so caught up in the petty and forget the holy.

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    • All of this reminds me of a joke–Question: How many Christians does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: Change??!! J.

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  16. Unity, not uniformity. When we finally get this there will be real change in the church.

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  17. I’ve been a part of a variety of churches over the years…some extremely contemporary…some extremely traditional. While I have a definite preference as to what I like, for me the most important thing is that the church is teaching the Word, impacting others, and doing things with excellence!

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  18. Steven Sawyer

    Amen. You are spot on the things of the church that need to change. Thanks for sharing.

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  19. Pingback: God Doesn’t Want Your Money – Rethink

  20. I see Christians often break unity because of their own selfish vanity to have the church the way they like it.”
    This is it right there in a nutshell. Sometimes we forget that it is not our church and that the only thing that is to really go on there is the business of God. Lord help us to recognize when we are keeping persons away from your church

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  21. just wait until you are 75 years old and the church has left you in the dust. If we all who are believers are significant parts of the Body, then to tell these senior saints to essentially “just get over yourself”, “don’t be selfish”, is neither loving nor long-sighted. For those who built the church to then be told their worship style is no longer relevant and to get out of the way is arrogant and smacks of “we know better than you”. You may indeed fill pews but I have seen in my 45 years in the church way too many get caught up with the “latest fad” only to find their ministries are a mile wide and an inch deep.
    There is a very real danger in marrying the current generation only to be divorced by the next. Why a church needs to pander to “felt needs” instead of actual needs is beyond me, except if the reason is to fill the house with needy people, only to find their needs had nothing to do with repentance but being stroked and coddled every Sunday morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for this comment. Truly the Church needs to address real needs as identified by the Lord rather than focusing on felt needs. J.

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