Change in the Church

    My last couple of journals have been about change. Change in Our Lives and Changed Lives. Change is good and necessary as long as it is in line with God. Change is how we grow spiritually. Take a look at the disciples and the changes they went through when they committed to following Jesus. In the end it was all for the good! They all came to know Jesus, His purpose for living, His purpose for dying and the ultimate plan for redemption and salvation.

    But what about change in our church? YIKES! “We’ve always done it that way!”, “They need to change! (but not me, Lord)”, “It worked back then!”, “This pastor doesn’t do things like the pastor 20 years ago!” These are just a few comments that we say and hear in our churches.

    So, when it comes to our church, what change is good and necessary for the health of the church and it’s people?

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.  Acts 2:42-47

    In summarizing Acts 2:42-47, they were all (not just the pastor) devoted to the Lord. They were devoted to the teaching of the apostles, fellowship with one another, breaking bread together, prayer and helping those in need.  They continued to meet together in temple courts (church) and they met in their homes (home groups). This all resulted in the Lord adding to their number daily those who were being saved (growing the church).

    As a church, how much of that do we do, or is going to church and sitting in the pew for one hour a week enough? I don’t think the believers Luke was writing about in Acts just sat and listened for one hour a week. My understanding is that they were ‘all in’, believing every word of Jesus, following every command from Him and diligently praying. I don’t believe their meeting together involved strictly talk about their grand-kids, their local garden club or the weather. I vision their fellowship involving talk about Jesus, their lives in Him and focus on how they could help those in need. Even the followers back then weren’t perfect, nor are we, but we should keep pressing towards becoming more like Jesus. The results will be, leading others in following Him and seeing ‘changed lives’. (being disciples who make disciples and serve others in the world around them)

    As we look at our current situations in a few of the churches here in our little town, change is inevitable. New pastors will come to lead us as a shepherd leads their flock. They will have different ways of doing things, different personalities, and different lifestyles. How should we embrace those changes? By becoming the church and diligently praying for guidance in the changes to come, not just the changes in pastors but changes within each of us. We can’t embrace changes needed in our church if we aren’t willing to allow change within ourselves.

    Christ must be the head of the church in order for it to be fully functional and He cannot be head if each of us don’t do our part in being His disciples.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

    As Christians, we are to be disciples of Christ and in doing so, we lead others to become disciples. God doesn’t need Christians who sit in the pew one hour a week, He needs our ‘all in’. There is a big Kingdom here on earth that God needs our help in growing.

Are you diligently praying for the health of your church?

How are you acting as Christ’s disciples for more than one hour a week?

~Joanie Lawrence-Cain