Monday, September 24, 2007

Early Release

Here is my Caller article that will be mailed out this week.

Many people love it and readily embrace it. Many people despise the thought of it. And for many, the emotions are quite varied depending on a slew of differing circumstances and factors. And just what is this controversial topic at hand? Change. That word alone has the potential to conjure up a variety of emotions in each of us.

On one hand, just the mention of the “c” word makes some of us cringe. Change can lead to feelings of loss, frustration and vulnerability as some wrestle with accepting the fact that something or someone that has become so familiar to them is now absent or altered. It may be further frustrating to realize we have little or no control in these instances. For those who struggle in this area the mere thought of impending change looming over the horizon, may invoke strong feelings of anxiety.

And yet, on the flip side, there are others who get excited as they consider change. It breathes life into what had become incredibly mundane. For those who seek and openly embrace change, their excitement level may easily bubble over by simply dreaming about what could be. For some, change just seems to be in their DNA.

And yet as a pastor who is willing to swim the ocean to see people come to Christ, it is not only my responsibility but also my privilege to help navigate the deep waters of change as we position this church to become increasingly effective for the Kingdom. And yet, for all the reasons I mentioned above, this is not an easy task. Some changes are embraced, while others are rejected. While one group celebrates a decision, it is likely that the same decision is being frowned upon by another. So what’s a pastor to do?

Here’s what I’m beginning to discover. I’m finding that the best thing a navigational leader can do is to communicate why it is the church must change. Though it is impossible for me to detail the specific reasoning behind every change, I think it may help to lay out the big picture that serves as a backdrop for every decision that is made at GCC. Please know that at the heart of every change, big or small, is a passionate desire to position our church to reach more and more people with the life-giving message of Jesus Christ. Therefore changing in an effort to become more effective and purposeful will be vitally important to this rescue mission.

So please understand that some changes will be cosmetic in nature (the look of the stage, the placement of furniture, the casualness of dress, etc.) whereas other changes will alter our methods and techniques (the flow of our worship, the method by which we serve communion, the nature of our programming, etc.). While the core of what we believe and teach as a church will never change, the packaging and techniques may have to. But it will always be in an effort to reach those who have not yet entered into a relationship with Jesus and inspire all to become fully devoted followers.

The invitation is to embrace the call to be a church that is Kingdom minded enough to change. It will not be easy and I believe that cultivating the right attitude will be of utmost importance as we navigate these waters together. That being said, I’ve always liked what one preacher called the ninth beatitude. He said, “Blessed are the flexible in spirit for they won’t be bent out of shape.” Change is tough but flexibility and adaptability are signs of maturity. May God give us all that is needed to navigate these turbulent waters of change and may he continually remind us the reason that change within the church is necessary. It’s all about Jesus and helping others to know Him.

Changing to expand the Kingdom!


Anonymous said...

I think change vcan be a great thing, as long as the people effected in the change are included in the decision making process.

Jeremy Kane said...

While I'll echo the first comment to a degree... you can't always involve everyone. Opinions are so varied and when everyone's opinion is taken into consideration it makes your head swim. Knowing that everyone is not going to agree on all changes I think you have to run them past the leaders, listen to their feedback and go from there. A church not willing to change is a church not willing to grow past where they currently are. (In my opinion)

Anonymous said...

Change is inevitable. It will happen whether you plan it or not! Better to be in a position of being in tune with the need to change to be more effective as stated to reach those for the Kingdom. Church was never meant to be 'my church". It is "His church." We have the responsibility to use tools to especially reach a generation of young people that now have young children. Us older "baby boomer age and beyond" group must keep the mindset of flexibilily for our environment. It comes easier for me as I have seen evidence of the high standard of sermons and challenges than ever before from the pulpit of GCC! Proud to be part of the process, Scherri

Chad Doerr said...

Thanks for your positive attitude and flexible spirit Scherri!

Anonymous said...

One of your first sermons at GCC focused on Matthew 9. Jesus taught us the error of pouring new wine into old wineskins, or from sewing patches of unshrunk material onto worn garments. You shared with us that a particular soft drink is purposefully packaged in different containers and sizes, so that many more people with their differing needs might enjoy the same refreshment. I see change in our church right now that is intentional and visionary; and it is good news. Let's be encouraging Chad, our leadership, and each other in the midst of this exciting season in our church.