What motivates us to change things? Especially, when and why will we act in the face of escalating risk? School taught us to ask the simple question: “Will this be in the exam?” If the answer is no, we don’t have to do anything about it. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” is another form of the same thing: don’t do anything unless it’s absolutely unavoidable.
It’s default mode for churches in survival mode. Churches that have had the same, shrinking membership for years have every incentive not to change. After all, they’ve spent years getting everything exactly right for their group. Church is their second home – their comfort zone. In a world that is changing at a terrifying pace, it’s reassuring to be somewhere that’s reliably the same, year on year. And then there’s the knock-down argument against change: “There’s no guarantee that we’ll attract any new people, and we’ll just end up upsetting the few people we’ve got!”
That’s the “Will this be in the exam?” equivalent. And it’s the most powerful vaccination against transformation on the market.
Standing still brings our journey of discipleship to a grinding halt. The weeds start to grow and the creeper starts to envelop us. Decay. Asphyxiation. Death. Grudging change in the face of grinding necessity is the opposite of transformation.
We’re promised that there is so much more that God is itching to give us. We’re unfinished business – we’re still in the process of being fashioned to be more and more like Jesus. Our best is ahead of us, not behind.
Curiosity. Impatience. Faith. Delight. Love. Devotion to the Jesus we follow – these are the reasons for never standing still; for investing in change. This is the change that leads to transformation. It isn’t comfortable, but it’s the only way to discover the Life that God has for us in Jesus, through the Spirit. That’s when we discover things that are worth dying for.