Change! The Posters told our nation. Change! the culture seems to scream out. Change! The frustrated truck driver, lonely single mother, or the singularly focused community service agency cries. Change!
We feel the pressure, sense the mounting dissatisfaction. We write, we preach we pontificate over the world’s most famous coffee mermaid.
“I don’t know how much longer this can go on…” the whisper and the shout of the winds seem to say.
Gas costs too much, children are abused, people are murdered and trafficked. And the government seems paralyzed in their frenzy of next solutions. Taxes, no taxes, new systems, structure, less structure, all the deck chairs are considered and examined as the Titanic lists violently to the starboard. We look desperately to the men and women in the seats of authority and demand, Change. Change seems to come in the form of another few inches down the slippery slope of decay.
And then a voice rings out in the chaos.
“The church is the hope of the world…” the clarion voice cries.
A moment of silence follows the declaration, and with hope, heads turn, ears tune in.
“The church is the hope of the world…” the voice echoes.
And then more voices.
“Our version of church, not your version. The church is too judgmental, not missional enough, the charismatic church, the non-charismatic church…” the voices and the chaos grow, and sound exactly like the voices that were just silenced a moment ago. Competing angry voices looking to solve the mounting pressure of our times.
Change the strategy, change the doctrine, change the form. And the voice of the church, like the voice of the culture becomes lost in its own argument.
No one really notices that in an inexpensive home in a run down neighborhood, the God of Heaven is speaking to a young mother, and giving her hope. No one really notices that the Voice of God, like two thousand years ago, is announcing that Immanuel still means “God with us” No one really notices that in a little church with a poorly constructed building once tired people seem to be experiencing something of a revival.
We all have ideas about what to change. And if I change my idea for yours, missional ideas for attractional ideas, we are only exchanging ideas. All the while God is in small places exchanging human ideas for His Presence.
What if we Think Differently about change? What if instead of trying to change how we do systems, strategies and theology and how we do church, What if we change our role and the church simply becomes a conduit through which God could enter His planet again.
What if instead of coming up with the best right world changing strategy, we, the church become the empty vessels through which the fullness of God could breathe again on His creation.
What if we stop trying to tell each other how to get change right, we simply allow our function to change. Rather than tell people about God and His ways, what if instead, we learn to receive God, contain God, and broadcast God.
We would have to Think Differently to enjoy that kind of change.