HOW DOES A CHURCH APPROACH CHANGE?
Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies. Give honor to marriage and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” (HEBREWS 13:1-5)
FBC Olathe like most every church is making the transition from Old to New. The writer of Hebrews brought a strong desire to connect the Old testament and New Testament for the early church. Today, we stand is a similar time between old and new, between our former pastor and one who is yet to be called.
Let’s check the boxes on what we do while we wait on the Lord for a new pastor…
Keep on loving each other – We need to foster healthy dialog. We need to talk about ‘What we had and what we want.’ We need to hear each one’s voice. William Bridges classic book on Change Management defined the three stages of change (Ending, The In-between and Beginnings). We’re called to love each other.
Show hospitality –One fundamental principle of our faith remains… offering a respectful, dignity filled welcome to others. During the turnover of a pastor some will ask, ‘Given the loss of a pastor, why would people want to be part of this church?’ Some believe we wait until we have a new pastor, thinking they will be more appealing, which we believe is a mistake. When we reach out we find out what strangers think of us and how they respond to our hospitality, allowing the church to know better who they are and what they stand for before the new pastor arrives.
Remember those in prison – The early church lived in times of unfair and inhumane imprisonment, but we are not hard pressed to name dozens of examples of people who are imprisoned by fear, doubt and distorted perspective. The most common example… in our churches are people who were bullied into serving on boards because no one else will. With any situation where people are trapped, whether in church or government, we must develop new tools, talent and they allow spiritual gifts to surface.
Remember also those being mistreated. Most churches do not wake up and in one moment lose a pastor. The long-term pastor ages before our very eyes, and a troubled church likely finds it easier to bury their emotions than deal with them. While no pastor wants to stir the mess, we do know that a new pastor should not inherit unaddressed tension. We must seek out reconciliation and foster restoration.
Give honor to marriage and remain faithful. Creation was built on relationship. God always pulls the family to the fore front. So too, in our church. There is no theological axe to grind, just a deliberate recognition that a family unit encompasses, the diversity of ages, interests and activities. No church can do everything, but we recognize the needs of family and asks, ‘What should we do?’ and ‘How do we prioritize?’
Be satisfied with what you have. The writer of Hebrews knew well that troubled people do not share and give as God would desire. Whether the challenge is COVID or conflict, most churches struggle during the change from old to new. The antidote for the church is to adapt a ‘Giving out of abundance position and reject the manipulative control of those who have stopped giving, restricted giving or both. The call of the Church is to re-shape out thinking and help every member understand the abundance of God, the wonder of giving and the joy of worshipping Him.
We enter the new year with our eyes wide open. FBC Olathe is called to usher in the ‘New.’ We have a deliberate approach and a specific set of expectations we promise to deliver. We help churches find clarity and hope.
We want to be at the top of your mind for the Olathe Community this year. Our resources bridge the gap between old and new, whatever the issue, whenever it occurs. Today are a congregation of one voice concerned about ‘The new’, and one church filled with members seeking ‘The new.’ We are moving beyond traditional definitions of what the Church does.
In these times of change FBC Olathe is doing more than you think. The answer in times of moving from old to new are always found within the church. ‘God will never abandon us!’