How do you handle change? I have to admit that I like stability and so I don’t seek out change. There was quite a lot of change in my life as a child and teen. I experienced divorced and remarried parents, moving, different schools, and new siblings. I personally vowed to be the stable one of my family, and I have pretty much achieved that. I have been married for 17 years. I have been a DCE for 23 years. I have been in my call at my church for 18 years; and I have lived in the same house for 10 years. I only got my first cell phone three years ago. I just started emailing two years ago. There are things in my life that don’t change.
It’s not that I don’t like change. I like to get a new haircut and change out old clothes for new ones. What woman doesn’t like that? Those are physical changes: low-risk and fun.
The changes that produce discomfort, uncertainty and fear are where I struggle; especially change in ministry. It is difficult to keep up with technology, global issues, changing culture and world events. The society we live in now is not the same as what we grew up in. In our country there are more people that have not grown up in any kind of Christian church than there are church grown individuals. That changes the way I approach ministry, especially youth ministry. Is ministry static? The longer I am in ministry the more I see I need to change.
“I the Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6). That is good news! No matter the state of the world and the sinful human condition, God does not waver with His love and grace. God does not change in his desire to reach all with His love.
Because of God’s desire to reach all, I may need to change my methods of ministry, but the doctrines and foundations of our Lutheran faith stay the same. So what does change? Ways of communication have definitely changed and I need to respond by seeking out effective ways to communicate God’s Word to the youth who live in this world. In discipling youth I have found that some of their issues are similar to past generations, but there are more issues than ever before. Only with God’s help can I be discerning enough to be aware of those issues and strive to address them with the hope of the gospel.
“Change will do you good.” That is a line in a Sheryl Crow song. As the world changes and our God stays the same, I need to change the way I approach ministry for the people of this time; not the 80’s or 90’s (yes I was ministering in those decades).
“That he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 1:6). God will work change in me; in my heart and spirit. Change will keep happening in this world that we live in. I will keep the foundation of the Gospel. I will change the way I do ministry to meet the changing needs of this world. It is not easy to keep changing, but I want to serve God and His church. So I will do what is best for His church, even when it is uncomfortable.
How about you?