May 29, 2012 Tony Morgan

Embracing Change: The Unbiblical Pursuit of “The Good Old Days”

This isn’t about your church, though it may be about your church. This isn’t about your leadership, though it may be about your leadership. This isn’t about your spiritual journey, though it may be about your spiritual journey.

This is a story about me. I like comfortable. I like life the way I like life. What’s crazy is that God doesn’t want me to be comfortable.

“Don’t long for ‘the good old days.’ This is not wise.” (Ecclesiastes 7:10, NLT)

When it comes down to it, none of us really like change. Our natural tendency is to drift to that which is comfortable. That’s why we tend to get bent out of shape when someone challenges our current thinking. Our personal preferences are sacred.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” (Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV)

I like certain songs sung at a certain volume with a certain amount of lighting. I like certain ministries with certain activities that meet on a certain day of the week. I like certain teachings around certain passages that address the sins of certain people…that aren’t me.

“Sing a new song to the LORD! Let the whole earth sing to the LORD!” (Psalm 96:1, NLT)

New things make me uncomfortable. New things require me to give up control. New things make me change. New things force me to become a new person in way.

“And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. For the wine would burst the wineskins, and the wine and the skins would both be lost. New wine calls for new wineskins.” (Mark 2:22, NLT)

As a leader, sometimes I have to pursue new methods when I know it’s going to disrupt people. It’s going to make them uncomfortable. They might not like that. They may not like me. It’s just easier to keep things the way they are. I like comfortable, because I want people to like me.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NLT)

I want to have new influence without giving up my old ways. I want to reach new people without giving up my old methods. I want to become a new person without giving up my old life.

It feels more sacred and more holy to hold onto the way things were. Is it sacred or is it familiar? Is it holy or is it comfortable?

Sometimes I have to embrace change because God wants to change me.

Tony Morgan

Tony is the Founder and Lead Strategist of The Unstuck Group. Started in 2009, The Unstuck Group has served 500 churches throughout the United States and several countries around the world. Previously, Tony served on the senior leadership teams of three rapidly growing churches including NewSpring Church in South Carolina. He has five published books including, The Unstuck Church, and, with Amy Anderson, he hosts The Unstuck Church Podcast which has thousands of listeners each month.

Comments (8)

  1. Tony, your post really made me think. I believe there are lots of us who say we embrace change but keep reliving (and renaming) the past. It’s like NASCAR… we take a really long time to get back to the place where we started. In the words of a former manager, “We want things to be so radically different that no one notices.” It’s been seven years, and I still don’t know what that means!

  2. There is always tension as a church leader of what to change and what to leave alone. You can never make everyone happy. You said “changes are going to disrupt people.” That is so true.

    To do it well, when making changes we must:
    1. Be sure God is initiating the change (He’s always doing a new thing!)
    2. Not change things just because _________ (you fill-in the blank) Church is doing it.
    3. Make changes with integrity… that’s means communicating well and bringing people in on the change before it happens.

    Change is never easy. But to accomplish what God has for His Church, it’s inevitable!

  3. Brian Dodd

    Tony,

    A great article and thanks for the transparency. This is a tension all leaders face. Noboby likes change but a wet baby, I don’t care what anyone says. But we must force change as leaders.

    It is never easy though.

    Thanks again for your incredible blog,
    Brian

  4. Thanks for sharing this with us. It is very timely in the life of our church and leadership right now. We need to move to the next place and it is lot easy to make happen as everyone has a reason for not changing.

    Thanks for leading those of us who read your material.

  5. Great article, Tony. I think not only every pastor, but every church member should read this every week. I think it skillfully disarms the conflict that change brings and puts everything in a biblical perspective. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *