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Five reasons change can’t take place

5 Reasons Change Can’t Take Place

I was watching a national news report a few months ago on why Sears Canada was dying.  They had an expert on the program to help figure out what was going on.  Sears was planning on closing 59 stores in Canada immediately in order to survive.  They had been through 3 CEOs in the last 5 years and were in deep trouble.  When the expert on why companies decline was asked, “How did they get here”?  His response was simply one word, change.  He went on to explain that the problem was a lack of, and a resistance to, change.  That same problem can exist in any organization, especially the church.  Many churches are dying and yet firmly holding on to the past.  What are the reasons so many churches are resistant to change, even though they desperately need to do so?

1.  Past Success – The greatest hindrance to future change is past success.  We get this mindset that it has worked in the past, and therefore it will work in the future. While the whole world changes around us and moves on from one generation to another, we keep trying to reach a culture and community that stopped existing long ago.  Unfortunately, the slogan for many churches is, “If the sixties come back we will be ready for it”.  The church is dying mainly because it has fallen out of touch with those who it is trying to reach.  We need to understand the times and respond to it.  Now with that said, that does not mean that we change the message, but it does mean that we change how we present it.  Holding on to past success only kills future life and growth.

2.  Pride – Not only do we hold on to past success but we can come to the place that we become proud of it and unchangeable. Many churches, could use a good dose of humility.  The moment we begin to think, “We Are It”, is the moment we start to die.  Humility says, “we haven’t got this figured out”, but are seeking the face of God on how we can do this better.  Spiritual pride causes us to think we don’t need to change because we are doing ministry not also only right but better than anyone else.  Pride is a huge hindrance to change.

3.  Selfishness – This can very quickly creep into any church or organization without notice. Most churches were started for the purpose of reaching out to people outside the church and drawing them in. However, if this is not constantly checked and monitored we quickly move to reaching only us.  This doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen if left unchecked.  Programs and ministries keep us happy, but do they reach out to the lost.  It has been said, “The church exists for those who are not here yet.”  Ask yourself, are decisions being made to reach those outside or to keep the people inside happy?  Selfishness creeps in and prevents needed change.

4.  Lack of leadership – Or should I say, “The wrong leadership”. I am yet to find a church that is doing anything significant for Christ that is not led by a strong leader or leaders.  Congregational rule does not work.  Instead of making tough decisions that can only be made by courageous Godly leaders, congregational rule causes us to make decisions that keep the majority of people happy.  In other words, we avoid making decisions for change, but make decisions that are based on the lowest common denominator. Most people like things just the way they are and are afraid of what change might bring.  Strong leadership, I didn’t say dictatorship, is needed to move the church forward.

5.  Fear – Every living organism has a life cycle. Birth, Childhood, Adolesence, Adulthood, and then death are all a part of this cycle.  As we grow older we become fearful of the unknown.  We like things just the way they are because it brings comfort and security.  Resistance to change actually grows with age. Yet, with a proper understanding why change is not only important but necessary, those in the church who are older can be the best leaders of change.  At True Life some of our best promoters of change are over the age of 80.  They get it and understand that the life of the church depends on the need to reach out in ways they may not be comfortable with.  We do not need to fear the future but embrace it and then change will become something not to be feared.  Change should not be seen as something to be feared but something to be embraced.

I am sure that there are many other reasons that needed change does not take place but this I know, “You can have change without growth, but you cannot have growth without change”.  Let’s change to reach more people for Christ.

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