Change is the law of life. And those
who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. John F.
Kennedy, or JFK, said these words in the middle of the
20th century when significant change was in the air. The rate at
which things change in our current time would be mind-boggling to this former
president. We must learn to deal with change and perhaps an ever accelerating
pace of change at least for the near future as we stand nearly 16 and a half
years into the 21st century.
Change can of course be good or bad, thrilling or
challenging, life enhancing or so difficult we might wonder if we will survive
the change. In a culture of change it is only the organizations and companies
that are agile and themselves able to change quickly that will survive and thrive.
To see the truth of such a statement one has only to look to energy companies
in Calgary as they have reacted to a change in world oil prices.
What does this mean when we think of churches? We live
in a world where we are all electronically connected and relationally
disconnected; a world where people can travel across the city or across the
world with ever greater ease; a world where leaders rise and fall on the whim
of a local, national, or international following; and a world in which
technology and media drive our monetary choices. The implications of these
changes are vast, and yet most of our churches continue to function much as
they did when JFK uttered his words regarding change. Churches do not tend to
change rapidly. They are founded on ancient words that hold principles for all
time. There is a tendency toward nostalgia and history. Few other disciplines (perhaps
philosophy is another) hold such high regard for old words as opposed to new
words on a subject. Certainly the Bible must be used as the founding document
and the bedrock for the function of churches today; yet, why should the words
of Augustine (354-430 CE) hold more sway than the words of Dallas Willard (1935-2013
Are churches in North America (my only frame of
reference) ready to embrace change for the sake of the ancient message? Can
methodologies and practices change while the ancient work goes on? What new
courses need to be charted? What experiments are necessary? What kinds of
intentional community need to be fashioned so that the mission of the church
survives in a world of change?
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait
for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change
that we seek.” 

― Barack Obama
“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to
be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You
can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the
best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see
things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope
you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re
proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all
over again.” 

― Eric RothThe Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Screenplay

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