Change is Inevitable
Change is one of those things that is inevitable. People hating change is also inevitable. Sometimes I wonder how we can get through life without hating everything but then I remind myself that some people actually go through life hating everything. I try not to be that person, but I’m not always successful. I worked with a guy who loved to say growing things change. He wasn’t wrong, a tree that’s growing is going to change size and shape as it grows, but the snarky version of me that others rarely see would always think “dying things change too, and this change is going to kill us”.
Even trying to find some sort of constant is almost impossible. The ocean is in a constant state of motion, eroding shores, water levels rising, even the tides change all the time. Mountains are about as close as I can come to thinking as constant but given enough time earthquakes and rain will even change how the mountain looks. Everything changes whether we like it or not.
In the early 1900’s the transportation industry was ruled by trains. Railroad tycoons almost monopolized the whole industry and it looked like nothing was going to beat trains. That is until cars came along, and then a few years later planes took off (I couldn’t help myself there). The train industry hit it’s peak in 1916, and then slowly faded to a mere shadow of it’s former glory. New companies emerged like Ford and Boeing that revolutionized and changed the face of transportation in America.
What would have happened though if those original railroad companies would have remembered why they existed? Well, their business was to move people and products from point A to point B, but somewhere along the line they got in the business of running a railroad company. I might have lost you there, I know it sounds like the I just said the same thing but there is a fundamental difference between trying to move things from point A to point B and running a railroad company. The first one is what we would call the mission, the second one is what we would call the method. If the early railroad companies would have always tried to move things efficiently we would now have car and airline companies called Amtrak and Union Pacific because those modes of transportation are more effective in most situations. Instead, they did their absolute best to manage the railroad company that they had built. But with a decreasing demand for trains, increased regulations, they went from a $6.3 billion industry in 1929 to a $3.1 billion in 1932.
The mission of the church has always been to go and make disciples. Sometimes in the midst of all the changes we try to cling or hold on to the ways that we have made disciples in the past. I remember open air tabernacle meetings and week long revivals. There were the campus crusades with the Billy Graham movement. In medieval times there were just crusades trying to make sure the Christian sites remained Christian and not Islamic. Now we have digital Bibles, we can watch youtube sermons and listen to podcasts, or even listen to our churches sermons online.
Our methods have changed a lot over the years. The people who are leading have changed. And at moments like this it is really easy to try to hold onto the past and do what we can to maintain our church. But unless we focus on the mission of the church, unless we continue to put our focus on making disciples, we are trying to run a business and not living out the Gospel. Change is hard. We don’t like change, but when you have an encounter with God you are forever changed and we want to see people’s lives changed. If we ask them to change everything to follow God, we have to start getting a little more comfortable with our own changes.
Nathan Persell serves as our Youth Director. When he's not leading devotions and playing basketball with teenagers, he enjoys disc golf and bike riding. Learn more about Nathan here.