Change, was Jesus Against Change?
One of the most blasphemous words spoken inside the church today is the word “change.” When change is mentioned the most popular phrase, “we always done it this way” or any variation of that phrase is uttered. If something in our life is not working any longer or a situation seems to be a stalemate, we never hesitate to “change” it, and it is often done without second guessing it. But what is it about church that creates hostility and fighting when the word change is mentioned?
We all can sit and develop theories as to why, but I believe it all comes down to comfort. The church is in a comfort zone and when anyone comes with change the recliners are put down and suddenly emotions and feelings take over and groups of advocates are formed. They cannot believe that someone wants them to conform to a different way to do things or change the way a place looks. But if it is not working why do we hesitate to change something to make it work? We have no issues changing a light bulb when it goes out without arguing over what brand to buy, just as long as it works.
The Bible is pretty clear on the only One who never changes, Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” I have found no scripture telling us that anything else cannot change. From the color of the church carpet, versions of the Bible, to the music we praise God with, nothing states that we as a body cannot change. Some may be asking what is broke that we would need to change, and I am glad you asked. The church has taken a negative stigma that has kept many from attending to seek God and worship. Call me crazy, but to me that seems broken. Do we sit and let this negative stigma continue to lead the lost sheep to destruction or is there something we can change without going against God’s Word?
To find the answer we first have to look at Jesus. Did Jesus hate change? After searching scripture I see nothing of the sorts, in fact, Jesus proclaimed change. There were those Sadducees and Pharisee’s that walked around all righteous and Jesus proclaimed change. The people were misled and they have put the yoke on all those who loved God. Has the church done the same with all the denominational rules and regulations? Can anyone answer with “no” after hearing of those who will not allow women to dress in slacks or have short hair, or people cannot come to church unless they are bathed or shaved, some stating that the only hymns have to come from those red books gathering dust in the back of the church pews, or every preacher has to preach hell, fire, and damnation? As far as clothing goes, I am pretty sure that when the church formed that Walmart or the mall was not around. Their clothing options were very bleak. What about music, is the only music to be sang to God be from those church hymnals? Not according to God’s Word, “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Colossians 3:14–17). I see nothing in there that states it has to be a certain style of music. As David was escorting the Ark of the Covenant back to its rightful place did he not sing and dance to the Lord (2 Samuel 6) and again pretty positive that he was not singing “I’ll Fly Away” or “Amazing Grace.”
We could go on and discuss clothing, different Bible versions, and preaching styles but facts remains the same. If we as a church do not do something different we will never fulfill the Great Commandments and certainly we will not fulfill the Great Commission. So, what do we do, do we continue down the broken path or do we embrace change and consider other ways to reach the masses? Personally, I want to embrace change and reach the masses because that is what Jesus called me to do. With that, we must use our minds that God has created us with to use reason and logic to determine the change, and we must not chain God’s hands by stating a particular person cannot praise God because of their clothing, style, gender, preaching style, music etc…”I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well” (Psalm 139:14). We are all created differently and have different tastes, and there can be compromise. Believe it or not, it is not about you, it is about God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. If you do not like hell, fire, and damnation preaching, it does not mean that God is not touching the person next to you with it and that there is no meat for you to feast upon in the message. You do not like contemporary or rock Christian music, it does not mean the lost soul in the back pew is not being led down the aisle to receive Jesus into their life through it. If a person has 10 tattoos, piercings and looks like they rolled out of a bar too drunk to walk, does not mean that person cannot come into a church and receive the love of Christ and His people.
Until the church is fixed, we need to put down the judgmental man made laws, the attitude that “we have always done it this way,” and we have to get back to the foot of the Cross, without it, the church is no better than the religious pious people that Jesus preached to change.
 Unless otherwise noted, all scripture is The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982.