May 19, 2014

Method vs. Message

I like change. I know some people struggle with changes, but I thrive on them. And the best thing about change…if it doesn’t work out, guess what? You get to change it again.

Over the years of ministry my husband and I have swam against the current of people who fight change. One thing that has frustrated us more than anything is the phrase: we’ve never done it like that before. (Yes, people ACTUALLY say that.)

Do you know why that phrase kills pastors? Because what they really are saying is: we don’t like change. Don’t change the carpet, don’t change the paint color, don’t change the order of the service schedule, don’t change the songs…and heaven forbid…don’t change us.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m glad I’ve changed over the 42 years of my faith walk with Christ. A true Christian experience is evolution. No, we don’t start out as a blob of organisms, slither along on our bellies, then sprout legs and walk upright.  But we evolve…like Peter.

Peter evolved from a common fisherman to a Holy Spirit-filled preacher and leader of the new church. Peter
changed. He looked out among the people who may have said “we’ve never done it like this before”, and changed the way they thought and lived.

Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, and forever…but the method in which we teach and preach the message of Jesus has, can, and should change. Where would we be if people didn’t change the method in which the message is spread? I shudder.

If changes in the church make you uncomfortable, I challenge you to look at the heart of the message, not the method, and test it to see if it isn’t the same message Peter preached on the day of Pentecost that added 3,000 souls to the new changed church of that day.

Too often, faithful church goers think church is supposed to meet their needs, but church isn’t about us, it’s about JesUS. Who is the message of Jesus for? The unsaved. How do we reach the unsaved? Paul explains it best in 1 Corinthians 9:22b-23:

I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel that I may share in its blessings.

It’s not the method that matters; it’s the message within the method. So, you’ve never done it like that before…try it. And if it doesn’t work, change it.

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