by Thom Rainer
Change or die.
That is reality for churches today.
Of course, I am not talking about Scripture, doctrine, or spiritual disciplines changing. Those things are constants, never to be compromised.
But much of what we do in our churches must change. And, unfortunately, many church members and leaders resist change. They seek stability and comfort over obedience and sacrifice.
Let’s look at five key reasons why stability is bad for a church.
1. A stable church is not a church on mission.
The very nature of the Great Commission means our churches should be in constant change. A church member blasted a pastor for his efforts at leading the church to reach unbelievers in the community. She castigated him because “those people are messing up our church.” Sigh.
2. Comfort is the enemy of obedience.
Review all the examples of obedient persons in the Bible. In every case, they had to get out of their comfort zones. Too many church members want stability because they don’t want to experience the discomfort of obedience.
3. Stable churches are not reaching their communities.
The communities in which churches are located are changing. Many are changing rapidly. If a church seeks comfort, it is not willing to make the necessary changes to impact the community it was called to serve.
4. Stable churches do not create new groups.
Show me a stable church, and I will show you a church that is not creating new groups or Sunday school classes. Show me a church not creating new groups, and I will show you a church that is inwardly focused. The members are spiritual navel gazers.
5. Members of stable churches want the focus to be on their preferences.
They want church “the way it’s always been.” They are more concerned about getting their way with music style, room temperature, and precise starting time of worship services. In their latter years, they are able to sing, “I did it my way” rather than “I did it God’s way.”
There is nothing biblical about a stable church. In fact, the stability is really just an illusion. Those churches that seek stability will ironically change the most rapidly toward decline and death.