To change or not to change

Back in 2016, our church began a slow but crucial church revitalisation journey. To embark on such a journey is a guarantee to encounter significant obstacles. If I were asked what are the greatest hindrances to our revitalisation two things stand out. First, a lack of prayer. Second, the unwillingness to change. Change is never easy, whether in our personal lives or for our church.

According to church growth experts, three of the clearest signs that a church will never change are:

  1. Every time someone raises a new idea, someone lists three reasons why it won’t work.
  2. Fondness for the past exceeds passion for the future.
  3. We’ve never done it that way before has become a theme song.

In fact, change is unavoidable and the cost of refusing to change can be catastrophic as seen in the story of Kodak which at one time was the world’s biggest film company. Kodak had an excellent innovation team that had been working and preparing for the next growth phase for the company. After years of research and investigation they were all ready to transition into the new digital era. Unfortunately, due to its fear of losing its own film manufacturing industry, the company hesitated to embrace digital photography and held back from developing digital cameras. Whether it was their worry about the future, hesitation over change or simply slowness in changing, it was very costly. Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

Take away lesson from Kodak’s story? Change requires courage and forward looking. Refusing to change and trying to safe guard the past is not an option. The cost of not changing is too high.

Our 21st century world is rapidly changing, and so is our local community. While the message of the gospel is unchanging, effective churches always change the methods to make sure the mission stays alive and the gospel can continue to transform lives and make disciples. May our church have the courage to embrace change for the sake of the gospel and God’s mission.