Managing Change and Maintaining Stability in the New Year
by Mark Lenz, Certified Consultant / President of Society for Church Consulting
It’s been said that the more things change, the more they stay the same. I’m not sure who said it and I’m not really sure what it means. But it does remind me that some things, in life and in ministry, always seem to be changing. And other things don’t change. They remain unmoved. They stay the same.
If we’re going to navigate the present and the future in a healthy way, it’s important to realize what things we can expect to change and embrace them with flexibility. And we should know what things are rock-solid, unchangeable realities, and tightly hold on to them with unshakable confidence. Here are a few thoughts about each.
Things that change:
There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has affected us all. Either we’ve gotten it or someone we know and love has. Sadly, many have died. This pandemic has changed the way we think about staying healthy and the way we take care of ourselves.
Other diseases like cancer, AIDS and others, still take their toll on society. While we may see some encouraging progress and potential breakthroughs in fighting these diseases, we still live in a fallen world subject to sin and disease. That won’t change in this lifetime. Indeed, the Apostle Paul told the Romans that all “creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay” (Romans 8:21 NLT). Until then, our health and wellness will change.
Work is changing. New technological breakthroughs remind me of Eric Hoffer’s quote, “In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
To keep up with changing times we need to embrace the new reality of work. Zoom meetings. Working from home. Outsourcing. These are the new realities of work, and good or bad, they’re here to stay.
We were created to interact with others. Human relationships are at the core of who we are. When God created humans, and Adam enjoyed perfect union with Him, unmarred by sin, God still said, “It’s not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18). God knew we needed something more.
There’s nothing like face-to-face interaction with friends. Sitting down in the same room with coworkers to tackle a project can be one of life’s greatest joys. But that’s recently changed. Online dating apps have increased in popularity. Distance relationships may be a poor substitute for close up ones, but nevertheless, they have become a reality.
Things that don’t change:
Nothing surprises God. COVID, or any other pandemic or plague in human history, caught God off guard. He’s sovereign. He’s in control. When things change down here on earth, nothing changes in Heaven. God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). That’s a truth we can have firm, unwavering trust in.
The mission of the church
The mission of the church has not changed. The Gospel writher Luke sums up the reason Jesus came to earth. In Luke 19:10 he writes, “For the Son of Man (Jesus) came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Additionally, Jesus’ last command to His disciples, the Great Commission, says that His followers should go into all the world and make disciples of all people, baptizing them and teaching them everything He commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). That’s the unchanging mission of the Church. It’s our God-given mandate till He returns. Until then, it won’t change.
You’re opportunity to join in
The word “Ambassador” can be defined as one who has been given authority to speak and act on behalf of another, typically another nation. Paul says that we believers are like ambassadors for Christ, speaking on His behalf and encouraging people to be reconciled to God (1 Corinthians 5:20). He also says that Christ-followers have each been given a gift to build up the body of Christ, the Church (Romans 12:6, 1 Corinthians 12:7, Ephesians 12:4).
You, yes you, play in integral part of God’s redemptive plan for the world. You’re call and responsibility to be Ambassadors doesn’t change. That should inspire us and give us an unyielding passion for living life and making a difference in this world. So go after it!