What follows is a minor, largely incoherent, rant.
I have to confess I am bothered by this notion that churches have to change. I hear it from all over the place. I always have. I have been a Christian now for around 25 years, and in every church I have been in there has been a group of people who advocate the need for change. (There have been times when I have been one of them!) What they are getting at, most often, is that the church needs to present itself differently, to be newer, more shiny, more attractive to the outside world. Our old ways are just putting people, off are they not? We are just not relevant.
Lots of churches have swallowed this and are undergoing various degrees of change in their forms and practices. Some of it subtle, some unseemly. My problem is that this all seems like slapping on more perfume to cover up an underlying stink.
The stink is this: disobedience. It’s disobedience to one command – to love one another. Lack of love goes with discontent. It creates discontent. It cries out for change. No one is happy.
But if we were to love…
Love covers over a multitude of things. It covers over the initial blam! of the strange culture we find in churches. That is after all a fruit of the interactions of the people there. But love exists between people, not just a style issue. So when a newcomer comes into our midst love is the magnet that overcomes the so-called “irrelevancies”.
This frees us up then to honestly search Scripture about our forms and practices and not be ruled by those tyrants Relevance and Change.
Let us focus on love, and let the style issues sort them selves out.