Seven Things in the Church That Will Not Change

Church SteepleIn this post, Thom Rainer reminds us of what is most important when it comes to the local church body.

Rainer writes:

I love following church trends. I have been researching and consulting with churches for over thirty years. It’s just what I do.

Sometimes I am pretty good about projecting current trends toward a future reality. Of course, I’ve had my share of misses as well. Still, I thoroughly enjoy every facet about studying local churches.

This time, however, I can make a definitive statement. I can tell you seven things in the church that will not change. In the fast pace of change in local congregations, these seven constants are good reminders of what really matters.

1.The Bible is still the Word of God. It always has been and always will be. It is sharper than a two-edged sword. It is powerful because it is the Word of God.

2.The gospel still changes lives. The gospel is the power unto salvation. The gospel transforms lives. The gospel is the same regardless of other changes in our churches.

3.Small groups are still vital. In the New Testament, groups sometimes met together in homes or other places. Throughout Church history, the role of groups has been vital. It is the place where community is established and where deep truths are taught. It has been called Sunday school, small groups, home groups, and cell groups. But they are all forms of small groups creating community and fellowship and learning.

4.The mission field still needs workers. That includes the mission fields to the farthest ends of the earth. And it includes the community in our backyard.

5.Prayer is still powerful. God is still using praying churches. Never, ever take for granted the power of pervasive prayer.

6.Hurting people still need ministry. Pain and hurt may come in different names over the years, but the needs are still similar. A church that truly cares for people will always have a place in the community. A church that sees people through the eyes of Jesus will always be effective.

7.God is still in control. Sometimes the pace of change confuses and disorients us. Sometimes the amount of suffering in the world challenges us. Sometimes we feel like there is no hope. Remember, God is still in control. He always has been; He always will be. He is there for you and your church.

I admit that I often have fun looking at trends and cultural forces that are changing our society and affecting our churches. Such is the bubble in which I often find myself.

But for many, the pace of change is disconcerting if not frightening. It can seem those things that we cherish are changing too fast or even being taken away from us. We all need these reminders that so much of God’s work in His churches will never change. These are the things that really matter. These are the things that really make a difference in our churches and the world in which we minister.

What other reminders can you give us? What are some constants that will never change in our churches? What really does matter?

Source: Seven Things in the Church That Will Not Change

Programs Won’t Change a Life

This is a great article by Michael Warden on “Why Programs Don’t Produce Lasting Change.”

Warden writes:

“If I…do not have love, I gain nothing.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:3

The leadership culture of the Church in the West is enamored with programs. We love to package the things we’ve learned ~ be they strategies, techniques, processes, or curricula ~ and scale them to multiply our impact and to help more people.

The motive is noble. And if we were merely in the knowledge-sharing business, then creating a program or curriculum to increase our impact would make perfect sense.

But we’re not in the knowledge business. At least, not primarily.

We’re in the transformation business.
We’re in the business of changing lives.

In this business of transforming lives, things like strategies, techniques, processes, curricula ~ they all have their place. For anyone experiencing authentic life transformation, there are definitely skills that need to be learned, new ways of being and doing that better serve the new person they have now become.

But programs don’t change people. They don’t produce that transformation. They can’t. They can’t because they lack the one and only thing in the universe that can authentically transform a person into who they were meant to be.


Yes. Love.

See, here is the secret to inspiring deep, authentic, personal transformation in another human soul:

It does not come through giving them knowledge or skill sets or even training them in disciplined practices (though these things are all very good). It comes through love and the courage born of love.

Love is the transforming agent of the universe. Love is the “Deeper Magic” that C.S. Lewis pointed to in The Chronicles of Narnia, the magic that changes not merely behavior, but the core identity of a man or woman (Romans 5: 6-10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-19). With enough love brought to bear, anything is possible.

But without love unleashed, without love applied, nothing really changes. Not really. Not in the deep places where our most honest thoughts lie.

The work of transformation, of changing lives, is life-on-life. Heart on heart. It always has been. There’s no getting around it. It’s slower than we’d like it to be. AND it’s the way God designed His Kingdom to advance.

So it all works out like this: A brilliant curriculum or a masterful strategy placed in the hands of a leader who does not know how to love will produce little change and may even do harm. But in the hands of a soul who is willing to love and loves well, even the [worst] curriculum can’t prevent true life change from spreading through them.

Many leaders I know (including me) have spent so much time developing programs and discussing strategies and so little time investing in hearts so they become great lovers of others…life, on life, on life.

Things to Remember When People Leave the Church Tuesday of this week I posted an article “Benefits To Not Changing Churches.” It was written by Dr. Dean Shriver, Pastor of Intermountain Baptist Church in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He gave us six benefits for staying in our current church.

Today, I want to post an article I found at by Gregg Surratt entitled “When People Leave: 4 Lessons in Rejection from Jesus.” It is great advice for pastors, as well as church members, to keep in mind when your friends and family move on to another church.

I was reading John 6 the other day and the headline above verse 60 screamed out at me: “Many disciples desert Jesus.” I wondered how that made him feel. Seriously. Go with me there.

I know he was God. And I know he knew in advance who would be staying and who would be leaving. But I also know he was human like me, capable of human emotions even when he knew the outcome. Like when his friend Lazarus died. He knew that he was going to raise him from the dead, but the shortest verse in the Bible says that “Jesus wept” anyway. He cried. Like I cried when my best friend died in a car wreck. It makes me feel better to know that he was capable of feeling what I feel.

So how did he feel when disciples started bailing?

You get the feeling that these weren’t just faces in the crowd. By this time, the crowds had grown extremely large. He has just finished a miracle of feeding at least 4,000 people. That’s the second time he’d done that one. People were so desperate to see him that they literally chased him across a lake. When some of them misunderstood something he taught, they started grumbling about it. Some of the crowd decided that he was getting a little too full of himself, and they started to leave. The murmuring grew until many of those close to him, his disciples, decided to quit following. They weren’t just faces, and you get the feeling that they didn’t go quietly.

How did he feel? How did he process it?

At that point, he turned to the ones that he is closest to, the Twelve, and he asked, “Are you going to leave, too?” Hit the pause button. What are the emotions of those words? Words are never spoken in a vacuum. There is always texture and feeling and context. What were his? What was he thinking?

Honestly, we don’t know. He’s God, and we are not. But I think we can learn some things from Jesus about a healthy process when people leave.

Be secure in the Father’s love.

There was never any doubt in Jesus’ mind about whether or not the Father loved him. I’ve got to believe that he knew his worth had nothing to do with how many were at the synagogue this Sabbath as compared to a year ago. The echo of the words of his baptism,“This is my son, and I am really pleased with him,” can’t be underestimated. A friend told me recently that our first thoughts every morning should focus on how much our Father loves us. Everyone else may think you are a jerk, but hey, what difference does it really make if God loves you?

Try to play for an audience of one.

Jesus says in verse 38, “I have come to do the will of God who sent me, not what I want.” There’s a lot of pressure in trying to please everyone. As the crowd grows, there will be more voices clamoring for your attention and potentially becoming offended if you don’t play their hand. One is a much less stressful number.

Learn to process it with your inner circle.

Even Jesus didn’t go at it alone. In response to his question, Peter says, “Where are we going to go? You have the words of life.” You need people like that. “I’ve got your back” type of people. Sure, you need some who will tell you when you’ve got spinach in your teeth, but you also need a few “I’m not going anywhere, boss” types for situations like these. Do you have people like that in your inner circle? Do you have an inner circle?

Trust in God’s sovereignty.

Jesus knew ahead of time who would leave and who would stay. You and I don’t. It would be a great gift to have. It would certainly save time and a lot of grief. You may not know, but God does. And according to Romans 8:28, he’ll weave it into the plan in a way that serves both his and your best interest.

The bottom line: When people leave for whatever reason, God’s got your back. What else do you really need?

Question for pastors: How does Jesus’ example help?

Question for church members: Does your pastor know you’ve got his/her back?

To read the article from the original site follow this link: “When People Leave”