IMPACTING OUR CHANGING CHURCH
Okay, week 4 from Lasting Impact. We have studied…
Week 1, GROWING IMPACT…by Pastor John
Week 2, CONNECTING WITH THE DISCONNECTED
Week 3, 4 KEYS FOR HEALTHY MINISTRY
And today, Week 4, CHANGING Cultural Trends
I. CHANGING CULTURAL TRENDS
“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19
A. 10 CULTURAL TRENDS THAT DESERVE THE ATTENTION OF THE CHURCH
- Online as the New Default – it wasn’t that long ago that you had to go to church to hear the message. Why go to church when you can watch it on TV or listen to the message on your Phone?
- Dialogue – people want to talk not just listen, any way we can Open conversation in Church will be helpful. Maybe we need to bring back standing and greeting.
- Loyalty – brand loyalty is low. Four of the top five global companies didn’t exist 15 years ago.
- Lack of Guilt – guilt used to motivate people to change and even come to faith but guilt no longer has its power.
- Declining Trust in Authority – most unchurched people start out with suspicion as her primary approach to the church and its leaders. More than ever trust is earned slowly and lost instantly.
- Personalized, Eclectic Spirituality – most people today will opt for self-directed spirituality over church lead spirituality. They want their own unique path, and most start out that way exploring different faiths.
- Desire for Greater Purpose – millennials won’t stay long at causes with little meaning or purpose, they want to be part of the mission .
- Trust in User Reviews – people are now placing far more trust in user reviews than in advertising. People look us up online before visiting.
- The Death of Cash/Checks – when was the last time you wrote a check or paid $500 in cash for something? Very few pay w/ cash or checks. Yet, most church leaders expect offering to come in that form! Let’s speak more of on-line giving.
- The Temporary Boom – the new generations only connect to their church briefly. And when the new church comes to town they are out the door.
II. MODELS OF CREATING CHANGE
Now the Bible is filled with stories of people who had to experience the pain associated with change in order to receive the blessings that positive change brought into their lives.
Example #1: Abraham
- Abraham is a Powerful Example of Change
“The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:1-3
2. Abraham had to make Massive change.. Leave his country and go live in a foreign land that he didn’t know. Look at the pain involved in this change.
- The fear of living in a different culture, language, traditions.
- The pain of leaving his relatives, his home, his friends behind for good.
- The risk of leaving the security of his home for the unknown place God was sending him to.
3. Look at the blessings associated with this change.
- His name and family would be great.
- God would give him many descendants.
- The world would be blessed through him.
4. Abraham considered the change and examined the pain and decided that the blessings were worth it.
- Today, Abraham is called the father of all those who have faith, as Paul says in Gal. 3:7: “The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.”
What a blessing to be remembered in such a way.
Example #2: Mary
28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” 29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”…38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. Luke 1:28-38
- Look at the change that God put before her.
- She changed her concept of what God could do. Of course, there would be pain involved if she accepted this change in her state … not just the suffering associated with normal child birth but also the possible loss of her reputation and future husband. Also the fact that she would always be “different”; she would always live with a knowledge and experience that no one else could fully understand. After all, how do you share your feelings after the miraculous conception of a divine being — who could relate? She faced the pain of loneliness (solitude) in her future life because of her special experience. But Mary also saw the blessings attached to this change.
- She would have favor with God, a special favor not given to another.
- She would be the mother of a king, the Messiah, the Son of God.
—- Mary changed her mind about what God could and couldn’t do and
- God blessed her in a way no woman has or will be blessed again.
III. HOW CAN OUR CHURCH CHANGE?
1. Fellowship Must Be Elevated. What ways can people connect? Let’s figure out ways people can connect with others on Sundays and other days of the week.
“Fellowship is a mutual bond that Christians have with Christ that puts us in a deep, eternal relationship with one another.”
a. Sunday is No Longer the Day. Sure Sunday is the Lord’s Day, but He can speak weekdays as well.
b. Let’s Place Greater Emphasis on Connection. As we have seen, some weeks we have more people at Women’s and Men’s groups than we have at church and that’s okay. Let’s celebrate all those connections.
2. This Movement is Similar to that of the Early Church:
“They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity.” Acts 2:46
“And every day, in the Temple and from house to house, they continued to teach and preach this message: ‘Jesus is the Messiah.’” Acts 5:42
3. Work Harder on Our Internet Presence. People will connect more now that ever. Some Sunday’s we have 75 to 150 people watching on- line. Also, dozens of people listen to the sermons on line.
4. Consider Other Ways to Reach the Lost and the Found.
“Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.” 1 Corinthians 9:22
(I also, love the way the NIV says it, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.”)
- Style You would think by now we might have solved this one. But even churches who think they’ve solved it often haven’t. They’re just more contemporary than they used to be. Be honest. Self-awareness and honesty actually matter if you’re trying to reach unchurched people.
“Many churches that call themselves contemporary…aren’t.” – C. Nieuwhof
“Leaders should focus on who they want to reach, not who they want to keep.” – R. Joiner
b. Time Being the church is about a lot more than showing up for an hour on Sunday or tuning in online. If you’re really going to reach the next generation, it means giving your time too.
2. Lives Christians should be the most generous and selfless people on the planet. Sadly, we’re often known as the stingiest and most selfish (ask any non-Christian who’s worked at a restaurant).
- The Gospel calls us to die to ourselves so that others may live and to put something bigger than ourselves above ourselves.
“If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” Matthew 10:39
When you die to yourself, something greater rises.
Okay so in closing…this is the summary of all that I have said…
IV. 3 WAYS TO SHAPE THE CULTURE OF OUR CHURCH
- The Power of the Word of God – Effective leaders will shape their church’s culture in ways that reflect obedience to the Word of God. Scripture is “useful” to teach and correct God’s people. (2 Tim 3:16)
- The Power of Leadership – Everything Rises and Falls on leadership. Leaders provide more influence in shaping a church’s culture than any other factor. “Wise & knowledgeable leaders bring stability.” Pro 11:14
- The Power of Community – There is a point at which people in the church will adapt to change and grow. The point is when they see people in the church that they trust support the vision.
“Community is how we make a difference in people’s lives” – J. Maxwell