One of the most important issues regarding change in the church is to know the difference between what can change and what should never change. What are the negotiables versus the non-negotiables, the variables versus the invariables?
God’s Word never changes. God, His character and truth, remain the authoritative standard for all time.
The church’s purpose to love God and love others never changes. Love is an overriding theme throughout Scripture.
Methods, forms and strategies for reaching God’s purposes and teaching God’s Word often must change to meet the needs of the moment and the times in which we live, as well as the people we serve. The Apostle Paul said, “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Cor. 9:22).
Being able to distinguish between the two provides perspective when presented with change. Failing to distinguish between the two often brings problems. Many divisions in churches have stemmed from changes made in methodology, forms or strategies … the negotiables rather than the non-negotiables.
This brings us to some questions we must ask:
- How well are we communicating what is most important?
- How much are we building into our churches the need to line up all we do under God’s purposes for us?
Look at Jesus for an example. When He laid out the greatest commandments, He not only stated what was most important but reinforced it by adding “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matt. 22:36-40).
We must do the same, putting everything else we do under the banner of love … love for God and love for people.
Learn 3 implications of all of this in the Steering the Church Toward God’s Purposes Leadership Guide which includes the content on this page and more pertinent information about our church purpose.