By Neil Anderson
1 Corinthians 9:22
I have become all things to all men, that I may be all means save some
The world at the end of the twentieth century is changing at an alarming rate. People are under tremendous stress to keep up with the rapid rate of change. The ecclesiastical challenge is to give anxious people the timeless message of Christ and present it in a contemporary way that relates to a changing culture.
Many of the older and mature saints who rightfully constitute the boards and committees in our traditional evangelical churches resist change. They are comfortable with the form of worship, style of music, and methods of teaching that brought them to Christ and helped them mature. They get uncomfortable when a young pastor comes in with new ideas.
Jesus said you can’t put new wine into old wineskins (Luke 5:37). The wineskins don’t represent the substance of our faith; they represent the package our faith comes in. Christian practices wear out their purposes and the next generation doesn’t relate to them.
Jesus not only came to fulfill the law, but He also came to usher in a new age. The Jewish community was locked in tradition. Most of the opposition didn’t come when He presented the truth, but when He confronted their traditions. When one doesn’t conform to the customs and practices of the status quo, the establishment will be offended. The new wine often comes under the scrutiny, and sometimes the wrath, of the old wineskins.
I had the privilege of helping an established church through an organizational change. The pastor had been there for 30 years and had led the church from its beginnings to more than 1000 attenders. The organization had evolved with little planning or purpose, so we reorganized 26 committees into seven. Although the organizational change was significant, it took place without any dissension. The major key in this case was the vision and credibility of the pastor, who realized the need for new wineskins.
God is leading us into the twenty-first century, and we must learn how to adapt our ministry to a changing culture.
Prayer: Lord, enable me to establish my life on the substance of faith, not the package of traditions and customs it comes in.