I do not like change…” A statement heard time to time around Baptist churches. It is very, very seldom true.
I do not like change…” A statement heard time to time around Baptist
churches. It is very, very seldom true.
If we did not like change, we would still be riding ox carts and stumbling
around in the darkness. We would be pulling buckets of water out of wells for
our water and building fires in mud fireplaces for warmth. We would be hunting
our meat with spears hurdled with atlatls. Our feet would be covered with deer
hides and our clothes would be leather – not the fashionable kinds of Fifth
What we should say is, “I do not like change that makes me uncomfortable
and threatens my comfort zone, especially at the church.”
And do many find their comfort zone in churches? They only want worship during
which participants sing only the same hymns they sang as children, and their
parents and grandparents sang as children before them.
One church prided itself in singing only hymns church members could sing by
memory. Singing the hymns by memory meant you belonged. Another church used
its same “order of worship” that changed only at hymn numbers, Scripture
references and people who led in prayer. The pastor that dared have the offering
at the close of the service rather than “where it was supposed to be”
found himself answering a summons to a special-called deacons meeting.
Young people in these churches? They had a choice. They could either sing along
or leave and go along, or get along to another church. Visitors? They came to
our church; we should not have to change to suit them. They probably will not
be back anyway.
Change. It has no place in church, some will say, just before they get in their
computer-regulated automobiles, drive home on paved roads to houses built by
the latest technology and filled with the latest innovations. They watch satellite
digital televisions while answering their emails from their children in Europe
and reclining in chairs covered with synthetic fabric.
The world may be forcing us to change everywhere else, but it can never change
our church, by gum, they say. We own it just like our grandparents owned it,
we operate it, we pay for it and it is ours to keep safe from change. By the
way, would someone turn the thermostat down a couple of degrees? And, while
you are up, ask the sound man to turn the volume up a little. Aunt Bettys
digital hearing aid is in the shop.
Change any of our ways of doing things? If people want contemporary music,
they can listen to the radio. If our ways of doing things were good enough for
the Pilgrims, they are good enough for anyone running around today. Those Pilgrims
knew their music and polity. (They did have music in their churches, didnt
Change? Our Sunday School class has been the same since Pat Adams started it
right after World War I. The only change we have accepted is dropping folks
from the roll when they die. Well, we did have those four additions during the
60s, but they were exceptions. Their families had been members here years
Change? We changed the carpet in the auditorium in 1973. Even though one could
see the boards beneath the slightly worn carpet, it took us a year of talking
about it to get it done. We had to wait for the Smith family to be out of town
to get the vote for that. We change.
One of those new people in town suggested we change the nursery and childrens
area. Wanted to put in new baby beds and lighting and paint and safety features
and I do not know what else. Said those kinds of things are really important
to young couples, and those young couples are really changing our community.
Moving in here from the nearby city. They did not like living in the city so
they moved out here, and now they are trying to change us to be like the city.
Change. What is wrong with the way we have been doing things all these years?
We had rather die than change.
Excuse me just a minute. Someone is sending me a photograph on my cell phone.