EDWARDSVILLE, IL – Do churches ever misrepresent themselves? Sure they do! Ask most pastors within their first two to three years of being on a church field. “They told me they were mission-minded. They said they really wanted to grow and reach this community….” are just two common comments I have received in the past nine years of relating specifically with pastors and staff.
Do churches intentionally misrepresent themselves? Probably not. Or at least, I pray that is not their intention. One thing of which I am keenly aware - churches often say they are ready and willing to change, hoping they will experience the anointing of God upon their church, but once the change begins to affect the church they know and love, they begin to push back. This is a major blockade to revitalization.
From the information I gathered, it was Mark Twain who made the statement "The only person who likes change is a wet baby". I wonder if Mark Twain ever changed a baby's diaper. None of our five children seemed to enjoy the whole "changing" process, especially when they had diaper rash. They would cry, kick and scream throughout the entire process. I can’t fathom why either. They were in an “awful mess” and inundated with an “awful aroma.”
Change is not always pleasant, but when a church is in an “awful mess,” it is the only solution to the unpleasantness and pain. The Lord desires us to be followers who present a “sweet-smelling aroma” by the conduct of our lives in this present environment (Eph. 4:17–5:17, esp.5:2). Therefore, change is a model and a regular practice we are obligated to submit to for the glory of God to be revealed in us and in our assemblies. Hold all ministry and programs with a loose grasp, allowing the Holy Spirit to evaluate and adjust everything for its greatest effectiveness.
Change and pain need not be synonymous, if we come to realize that who we are, and everything we are steward over, is HIS!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Tracy Jaggers is the Associational Director of Missions at Gateway Baptist Association, Edwardsville, IL