From Jared C. Wilson: When a church prays for growth, they ought also to pray for the grace to accept & celebrate change. Because you cannot grow and not change.
The change is what is difficulty for most established churches, especially those that subscribe to a more traditional approach to church. I don’t mean changing in a seeker sensitive sort of way: watering down the gospel to make it more palatable or jazzing up the the service to attract the young folk. I mean being acceptable to the changing kind of people the Lord chooses to send.
When God the Father sees fit to bring the increase to the local church, to add to the body and erect the earthly temple of believers; some of these members won’t be like us. They won’t look, talk, dress or act like we do. The truth is when a believer is adopted into the family of God, they have the same privileges we do in the Universal Church, the true body / bride of Christ. Should it be any different in the local church?
I don’t mean we should all have a key to the safe or seat on the planning committee [although I think growth and maturity makes that available to all believers gifted in that regard]. I mean a member of Northside Baptist Church is just as much a part of the body whether they have been a member for 40 years or 40 minutes. To believe other wise is wrong.
I think this idea of – us and them or the old guard vs. the new – plays out more in our subconscious attitude toward new believers / members than in the actual administration and governing of the church. Do we give the preferred seat to the old saint out of honor or out of habit/pride? Do we give the founding member the benefit of the doubt while being suspicious of the new members every idea? Do we look down on the new member as if they have not earned the right to sit here, do this or that or give an opinion on anything?
Humility is a large word and an even larger concept in the Bible. Too large for some to grasp, much less carry. The church won’t grow if it is not willing to change. This does not mean giving way on our principles. It means embracing the principles of the Bible on how we should live and accept one another, not as the Gentiles do, but as Christ would do. Not accepting of our short comings, but accepting because of our position in Christ.
I pray we would accept the change that God wills for the earthly temple of Northside Baptist Church and love and embrace each and every person [made in the image of God] that attends [more especially the brethren], whether they look like us or not, and value their thoughts and ideas as we would a member of the family.