This morning I after I got up I was looking over email, news feeds, and social media. There was an older relative complaining that Facebook had ‘done it again’ and changed their “look” on the main page. I honestly hadn’t really noticed much of a change but therein lies the genius.
Change is inevitable. Change will happen. The only question is how prepared we are for that inevitable fact, and how we respond to it. Times will change and your church will change. People will come, people will move on, people will grow older. Most churches seem to do one of two things. Either they do nothing, never changing, never deviating, always the same as the year before, or they they don’t change for years and then one day realize that a change has to be made so it’s sudden and drastic. Why not try a third way, the ‘Facebook way’?
5 and 15
I’ve been thinking a lot about 5 and 15 years lately. Calvary Arlington was started this time last year. God has been gracious and we’ve grown and thrived. But what if 5 years in God calls my family somewhere else? What kind of music ministry am I handing over to my replacement? What if God calls me to stay and 15 years from now when all the little kids running around the church are in there late teens and early 20’s. Will the church assimilate them easily? Will we allow them the freedom in expression that we had? Or will we tell a younger generation that they have to adapt to us the same way and older generation said “no guitars and drums, only organs and pianos”?
That’s where the “Facebook way” comes in. Slow, continual change. How? By being intentional about it. I know that change is happening no matter what I do so I’m trying to be ready.
Methods of Change
Expression: We intentionally have a variety of expressions in song worship. Upbeat, reflective, modern and traditional. We do new songs, we do hymns. It’s all there. No one group gets to have it there way all the time. Every so often, I figure about once a year. I try to determine the main stream of C:A. Not who’s the most vocal minority, or who stands out the most, but who represents the “everyman” in our church. Then we gear two out of 4 Sundays a month towards them. With the other two we lean older one Sunday and younger on the other. This way we serve the people that are with us now, but keep an eye to the future. The “everyman” of our church will change as time goes on. The mainstream set lists of today will probably be the “older” set lists of tomorrow. This way, by the time my church reaches its first generational transition point, it will hopefully be a lot less painless.
Culture: I’m trying to preach and build a ‘culture of change’ in our worship community. If they can grab the vision they can help spread it among the larger church community. The phrase “that’s not how we did it before” needs to be forgotten. This takes time, it won’t happen over night, but its our goal.
Visual: People are way more visual then they realize. It’s amazing how many people don’t know what they buy at the grocery store, they just know the color of the packaging. If a film uses a certain film or color scheme they can subconsciously alert you to the time, setting, and mood of the film. We are making our first attempt at it in a big way in a few months. The plan is to change the stage lighting motif, etc when we end our study in Matthew’s gospel and move to the book of Acts. New color scheme in the lights. No more candles, and we will maybe try lamps instead. The point is what we do so much as why, we are giving people a very visual cue that change is constant.
Change Is Gonna Come
There are other ways in which you can keep change manageable and constant. But the biggest way is how you as the worship leader, and the leadership of your church manage it yourselves. Are you ok with change? Are you intentional about change? Do you have a vision for the future? If so, how are you going to get there? Small constant changes are far more painless than major, earthshaking ones.
Hopefully, if you haven’t already done so, posts like this can start good, healthy conversations with the leadership of your church and the members of your worship community.
Change is gonna come, are you ready for it?