by Phil Miller–
Sometimes, change is practical—like changing your tires when they’re old (let’s hope) and worn out. I walk past a husband and wife who have just put on the puny-looking spare. They’re stuffing their injured tire into the car trunk. Whether they can redeem the flat is yet to be determined. For today, they must accept change.
Some changes are deeper than others. I walk by a pile of four old tires, rusty rims still centered, wrapped with shredded rubber. Someone decided to make a deeper change—not merely the tires, but whole wheels.
Likewise, change happens to old buildings. Heat and cold, sun and ice and wind ravage them. People wear out their fixtures and furniture. Like us, they require more repair as they age.
Change can be slow, subtle, insidious, like climate change—easy to deny, yet undeniably measurable. Change can be breathtakingly swift; for example, information technology and international communication.
Cultural shifts bewilder people who have a tough time understanding why things aren’t the way they used to be. At the same time, churches change when our study of the gospel opens our eyes to those our society has hurt. Repentance and transformation require renunciation of commonly accepted values such as consumerism, racism, or nationalism. Our study of the biblical prophets and the apostolic teachings of the early church lead us to decide for deep change.
A change of pastors can be a challenging time for a congregation, particularly for those whose active part in the life of the church began during the previous minister’s tenure. At the same time, if we accept the fact that change happens whether or not we plan for it, a transition between pastors can open doors to new possibilities.
On July 8th, the Discovery Team and I will meet for the first time. We’ll encourage long timers to reminisce about how things used to be so we can get a long view of this church’s story. Before long, we’ll invite church members to explore untested, unproven ideas. I expect we’ll try some new things to see if they fly or flop. As we keep working at it, I hope we’ll find ways to articulate clearly and concisely who we are as a congregation, and what changes God is calling us to make during the next chapter of this church’s story.
May we find deep joy in the gracious and steadfast love of God as we work together in the name of Jesus Christ.
photo credit: submitted by Phil Miller