The hard thing about ‘change’ is managing the ‘fall-out’ or as some might call it ‘damage control’. Sounds political right. Not meant to be. But these lessons are meant to help avoid as much damage as possible. Sometimes ‘change’ comes and leaders feel very helpless. A group may end up with an undeclared split… those who want it, and those who are against it. If changes don’t occur then those who want it, leave, and if changes occur, then those who don’t want it leave. What’s a leadership to do?
May I suggest several things as I move to the last of the installments of notes and lessons dad had on this subject.
1. Spend much time in prayer, visitation with members, gather all information on feelings and thoughts as possible, encourage a spirit of love and unity, and sow the seeds of all concerned with the idea of compromise (each moving towards each other/ give and take).
2. The last thing we need is more splits and division. Brethren need to see more than anything, what the end will be if an un-Christ-like attitude prevails. All need to be on the page of seeking the best move for not only the congregation, but for the cause of Christ. Division is not only wrong, but damaging to the influence of the church in the community.
3. DO NOT BE FOOLED INTO THINKING:
A. People will not see when a congregation is at war with itself
B. People will not see a congregation that can weather the winds of change and
come out loving each other even more!
4. NOTHING… TAKES THE PLACE OF UNITY! (This is the title of this lesson from dad.) As you recall from the first lesson in this series, dad grew up in a different time. Church looked different, times were different, and changes came hard. Congregations divided, and hurt feelings grew. It wasn’t all bad times then… but the hope for now is that we can learn from the past and grow.
1. SCRIPTURES TO STUDY AND KEEP IN MIND
A. Ephesians 4:1-7 Paul’s plea for and outline of unity.
B. I Corinthians 1:10-3:23 Paul deals with division.
C. Romans 16:16-17 Paul encourages unity and warns against those who hurt the
D. Romans 14-15 Paul instructs on how to maintain unity (weak brother/strong
2. A FEW THINGS WHICH PALE IN IMPORTANCE WITH THE CROSS OF CHRIST
AND HIS MISSION:
A. Church buildings
B. Arrangement of singing
C. Tenure of elders
E. Order of services
F. Local Ministers
G.Time of services and how many
H. Name of the church (assembly). (Consider “Central – “Where Christians meet”)
I. How money (funds) are dispensed
J. How to select elders
L. Where “giving” is an act of worship
M. How often should we give
3. SOME CONSIDERATIONS
A. There are many other things which dad could have added to the list, but did not.
1.) You can add some things as you consider this.
B. Grow in grace, and understand, that not everything which look like big deals are in
fact A BIG DEAL.
C. Tradition has played a BIG APART IN THINGS WE DO.
1.) Prove this by asking for the scripture which proves one must do something
‘this way’ or ‘that’.
D. Tradition is not bad in and of itself.
E. Some changes are good if it helps the congregation to grow and reach out to the
1.) This doesn’t mean on is a ‘change agent’.
F. Galatians 5:6 What is important is “FAITH WHICH WORKS BY LOVE.”
G. Keep a firm hold on things which are not CHANGEABLE. The “basic core” as
dad calls it. This must not, cannot be changed.
H. It takes wise shepherds, to grow and help their flock to grow with them.
2.) Work together
3.) Grow in grace
4.) Maintain your liberty in Christ
5.) Earnestly strive to hold onto unity and peace – NOTHING TAKES THE PLACE