Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Jesus is the same and never changes, but that doesn't mean He expects the world, culture, or people to never change. If we never changed, we'd still be sitting in caves rubbing sticks together to make fire and we'd never have anything different, no telephones, no automobiles, no tv, no computers, no electricity, no plumbing, etc... you get the picture, but the fact is as the world has changed these things and many others have been developed and changed and improved.
While I agree not all change is good, change is necessary both for the Christian life and the Christian Church. If people don't change then how can we go from lost to found? Sinner to saved? New creation to mature Christian? We can't, it takes change. Also, how can churches continue to grow spiritually, reach the lost and make disciples if they refuse to change and fight any sort of growth in their body?
One of the worst phrases in the world and one that makes me cringe is the phrase uttered way too many times in churches "that's the way we've always done it." and those 7 words are killing the church, the spread of the gospel, the making of disciples, the reaching of the lost, the raising up of new church leaders, and many of a church and a Christian has died spiritually because they refuse to change.
People we have to realize that though Jesus Christ never changes and the Word of God never changes, that doesn't mean that the church shouldn't change their methods. It has to change, if the church isn't willing to change then it's going to die and not a good death. This is a great statement "The message must never change, but methods must constantly change". What does that mean? It means that the gospel message of Christ is the same and will always be the same, but the way we deliver, present, or share that message in our churches HAS to CHANGE as culture changes.
People are not driving Model-T's and watching Black & White TV's anymore, or calling the operator to make a call on their party line phones and we are naïve and selfish and dumb to think people are going to continue to come to Jesus and fill our churches when our methods, programs and traditions we have are from 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, or longer years ago. Why do we embrace change in culture and fight it in our churches? Why do we love the changing of the seasons yet we fight the changing of the seasons of the life of the church in our culture? Though we are not to be of the world, we are still in the world, and if we are going to be relevant, realistic, and make a difference we can't continue to reach a world in 2015 and beyond with our 1980's, 1960's, or 1940's methods, styles, worship, programs, etc..
The truth is some of those methods were great at the time, but sometimes things end, change, or lose their momentum such as revivals, Sunday school programs, VBS programs, and many of the different programs and events our churches put on, we've stopped reaching people and being effective in our communities and we've just continued to entertain or satisfy the "faithful few" or the "Holy huddles" our churches make up. So we have to change those things and do them differently or new altogether.
I am talking to every church, every church leader, every Christian who reads this blog to stop trying to hold the church back, stop living in the past, and stop being selfish with your church and hurting it by refusing to change, by refusing to accept new ideas and concepts, and please get the statement and words "we've always done it that way" out of your vocabulary, mindset, and thoughts. As long as we cling to the way we've always done it, you are going to slowly kill your church til everyone dies off or church members (mostly younger ones and families) leave your church and go elsewhere because they are starving to death spiritually and not being fed because your church is still acting and living like it's 1950.
We act like we are changing the gospel because we develop new programs, we act like we are taking Jesus off the cross if we sing new songs or create new ideas, and the truth and reality is, we are like the old religious leaders and Jews of Jesus' day who wanted to continue to embrace the old law, it's rituals, and traditions and Jesus shared this illustration with them
Mark 2:21-22 (NIV)
21 “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”
They were "griping" and "complaining" because Jesus' disciples weren't honoring their "fasting" rules like the Pharisees of John the Baptists disciples(pupils). Jesus explains to them the different between the "old" way and the "new way" that is coming.
We too must, stop holding on to the past, and realize Jesus is still Jesus and the Bible is still the Bible even if we do things different and make changes. We can change lots of things we do in church from the order of service, to bulletins, to service times, to our annual events, our programming, our music, our styles, our preferences, and anything else. As long as we aren't changing the gospel message or the plan of salvation or the Word of God, then we have "freedom" to change and adapt as the world around us dictates and we live in a world now that is changing faster than ever and we must keep up or we are going to continue to lose people to the world and sin.
The church is bigger than you or me and the church is God's church not ours to "control" or "keep in the past" with our "we've always done it that way" mentality and our fear or change. We must all participate and embrace change so that today's generation and future generations will come to know, love, accept, and worship Jesus Christ. WE are already saved, and whatever changes your church needs to make in order to be healthy, grow, or be productive for the kingdom is more important and vital than our preferences, our holy habits, or fear of change.
Let's change the world for Jesus Christ, but changing our churches and adapting, and by changing ourselves with a better attitude and mentality.