Modifying The Pattern – Balance On ‘Change’

This article is part 2 of 4 in the series Modifying The Pattern

This lesson can be particularly helpful to elders who are burdened with guiding  their congregations through the turbulence that can come with growth. Dad would at times present this lesson to a group of shepherds. Here is his outline with some added notes..

                                              “BALANCE ON CHANGE”
“Change” = “The act, process of changing – (Alteration)(Transformation)Substitution)
“Autonomous” = “The quality or state of being self-governing…”
I Peter 5:2 “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve.”
Philippians 1:1 “Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all God’s holy people in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons.”
Galatians 5:1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
“What’s Best?” – (Dad posed that question here for leaders. It is truly a difficult thing to care for and lead God’s people in the right… best way. Not everything is outlined in the scriptures. Thus elders have responsibility to grow in grace and apply this grace so that freedom in Christ is exercised and not abused.)


    A. “Tradition” = “Handing down information – Beliefs – Customs – Without written (Bible)
         instructions/ on the details.
         1.) Matthew 15:1-9 READ
    B. Principles:
          1.) Traditions – NEITHER GOOD NOR BAD.
          2.) Traditions – “LIVING FAITH OF THE DEAD” which CAN BECOME “DEAD FAITH
                OF THE LIVING”
          3.) Name them – Know them – Change – Begin them
     C. Understand the difference between “UN” – “ANTI” – “NON”  Biblical
          1.) UN-BIBLICAL? (Not in accord with the story/ message and spirit of the
               Gospel of grace.)
          2.) ANTI-BIBLICAL? (Expressly against scriptures)
          3.) NON-BIBLICAL? (Not in the Bible/ Bible is silent/ Can exercise freedom.)
      D. Why important to understand difference in these?
          1.) If Bible says “YES” OR “NO” “DO THIS OR DO THAT” that settles the matter.
               (Yet customs come into play re some things which Paul commands.)
          2.) If the Bible says nothing on the matter then it becomes a question of is it
               expedient? Helpful or harmful? Consider customs/ Likes/ dislikes/ weak brother
               (not a grumbling mature brother).
          3.) Freedom must be exercised with love… not used to ‘run over’ brethren.
               a.) Take time to teach brethren to the point where they understand their
                    “freedom”, as well as the difference in “UN”, “ANTI” and “NON” Bibilical
               b.) Understand the difference between and deal with “STUMBLING BLOCKS
                    AND GRUMBLING BLOCKS” (Refer to Books dad wrote for this subject.)
    A. Know the direction (Vision) of your congregation.
    B. Know the ‘flock’ (People) “consider” – think)
    C. Envision the destiny – End results
    D. Entertain (Consider) – the Risk
    E. Stake out the spiritual guidelines (“un”, “anti”, “non”)
    A. All (people)(groups) needing – wanting – hoping
    B. Important:  BEND – GIVE AND TAKE – LISTEN
    C. Identify each others feelings – Old church bldg. “My dad helped build this…”
    (“Education = power to see a thing from many different viewpoints/ perspective!”)
    A. Cosmetic changes??? (Songs being used)(Responsive reading)
    B. Scriptures to keep in mind:
         1.) 2 Corinthians 3:17-18 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord
              is, there is freedom. 18  And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the
              Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory,
              which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
          2.) Colossians 1:28 “He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone
               with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.”
          3.) Romans 12:1-2 Transformation – ongoing process – Spiritual change/growth
               (Church = family= grow together!)
    A. “Can’t leap a chasm in two hops” –  MAY NEED TO BUILD A BRIDGE!!!
    B. “All past IS NOT BAD” (Our past/roots/history/Restoration Movement – Learn/grow)
    C. “All future IS NOT GOOD” (Depends on level of leadership WISDOM/INTEGRITY
    D. Concept “Burn baby burn” must be avoided! (“Baby/Bathwater”)
    E. Define Congregational “Comfort Zone”
    F. There should be NO ‘SHOCKS’ – Communicate!!!
    G. Avoid ‘Power Moves’ – Should not have one man rule inside Eldership..
    H. Keep in mind, while some ‘changes’ may be good with some congregations… they
        may not be APPROPRIATE for other congregations.

(Take time to read and re-read this material and adapt it to your needs. It is merely meant to be a lesson to help us begin to STOP AND THINK, and regain some BALANCE in dealing with CHANGES WHICH INEVITABLY COME as congregations strive to grow.)
(I would really enjoy your responses on this.)(jhejr)


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