Through the prophet Isaiah, God said, “I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King. I made a way through the sea and a path through the mighty waters, who brought forth the chariot and the horse, the army and the mighty man (They will lie down together and nor rise again; they have been quenched and extinguished like a wick). Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new. Now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:15-19
The God of the Bible is a God who is always doing new things. It was true back then, it was true during the New Testament, and it is still true today. God does new things. How much do His people of today believe that? Notice how God told the Israelites to not cling to the awesome things He has done in the past, but to look for the new things that He will do and to be ready for them.
Why is it then that people so readily and commonly hold on to what has been or what currently is? Why is it so common that people are unable to let go and move forward into the new things that God is designing and wanting to do?
For example, try eliminating a program of a church that has been around for a number of years. Even when the program/ministry/service is, for all intents and purposes, dead, there are those who fight to keep it going, even though the effectiveness of and purpose for which it was created in the first place no longer exist. Be ready for a fight that sometimes might be likened to being accused of denying the deity of Christ. It can be that intense.
Could there be some deeper reason for all of this than “people don’t like change?” Could it be that people wrap their identity as a Christian in these things that have been done, in traditions, and in their preferences? Could it be that people equate what has occurred or traditions or preferences with what God wants? If so, eliminating or changing in any way whatsoever would be akin to sinning. People may not say it in those words, but the reactions people have to when someone suggests a change betray that type of attitude, even if it is a subconscious one.
Now, change should not be done just for the sake of change, but what must be remembered is that it is only living things that change in themselves. Things that are not living do change, but only as a result of an effect perpetrated upon them by something else. For example, a rock is not alive, but it’s appearance is changed over many years of water running over it.
But things which are living change in and of themselves. God is demonstrating this truth through saying, “I am doing something new.” The church is alive and God works in our midst so the church must anticipate and expect new stuff to be occurring, replacing the old, and then embrace it, even if it is in a unexpected direction and one that might not be a preference.
The place where change and experiments should be most prevalent is the church because of the nature of God and the nature of the church. Indeed, the very gospel we proclaim and the church itself only exist because God did something new and different than what was done before. And just like those today, there were groups (legalists/Judaizers) who couldn’t let go of the past things and ways.
Therefore, embrace change because it means you are alive. Embrace change because it means you are continually seeking what God is wanting to do now and moving forward. Embrace change because it means you have an intense desire to be relevant to the community around you and the people to whom you are sent to declare the kingdom and the King.
Go ahead, give it a legitimate try. Who knows, maybe you might find out you like it so much better than what has been before. But don’t become to beholden to it, because eventually something new will come and change that.