More Thoughts On Change

July 25, 2007


In my post from last week, “When Change Must Come…How?” I touched on three different ways we have been approaching the need to bring about change in the church. One, start over with like minded people in a completely new work. Two, multiple choice services (traditional, conservative, etc.) to please as many people as possible. And then finally, set the new direction, move ahead and let the chips fall where they may. All three types are represented here in the area where I live. In my estimation the most successful works, so far, have been the first and the third approaches.

But there is a common weight they all seem to be dragging along with them, and that is a large overhead expense. The vast majority of the funds that are generated by all of these works go to pay for creature comforts for the members in the form of a nice building. The existing groups perceived needs are at the fore front of each of these, and not so much the community they are trying to reach. What if works began with the perceived needs of others in mind? What if the major change we considered was doing what ever we do to reach those who do not know Jesus.

The life of Jesus was about serving others and meeting their needs. While it would require a new paradigm, some out of the box thinking, maybe that is the direction we should go. Some works begin and develop in the simplest ways. Jimmy Dorrell tells in an interview with the Whitenburg Door Magazine how the “Church under the Bridge” started. “This is one of those things that God birthed it for us. We went down to do a Bible study for five homeless men about 14 years ago, and we took them to breakfast and hung out with them and they asked us back, and five became seven and seven became 10 and all of a sudden a Baylor kid walked across the street to see what we were doing. We didn’t go down there to start a church, it just sort of emerged. And that’s been part of the joy of it. This was not some entrepreneurial effort, this was God’s gift to us. But it’s the church I’ve wanted to be a part of all my life. That insatiable desire inside to be a part of something valid. It happened, after years of prayer and waiting, and not something we manipulated.”

Find a need and fill it has been a motto for success in business for as long as I can remember. It has a spiritual application as well. Meeting perceived needs often leads to opportunities to meet spiritual needs. But most of the time we have offered to meet those needs only to those who were will to come to us. We invited them into our world. Many with real needs will never come into our world. They are too intimidated by our buildings, cars and nice clothes. Jesus never had that problem. He simply marched right into their world, and touched, fed, healed and embraced. The example of Jesus is a visible demonstration of the difference between Attractional and Incarnational Ministry. The challenge we all face is learning how, in practical ways to be incarnational. Could it be that if we were more incarnational in our approach to ministry we would find ourselves less dependent upon our buildings and more effective in reaching those in our communities who don’t know Him? Could it be they don’t know Him because they have never seen Him in action?

“…your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”, Matt. 5:16



  1. Lee,
    Great post again.
    You are are so right.
    Imagaine if you would…A Church without walls. I think that is when they will see Him. I think when we are authentic in are Christianity, and we see church without race, economic statis, a place without wall, living out the function of the 1st century that is when they will see Jesus. It is then they will see the light. It is then when real change will occur.

  2. We are controlled and governed by our priorities. The little rhyme from childhood keeps coming to mind. This the church, this is the steeple, open it up and see all the people. “This” (the building) is not the church, you have to open it up (the building) to see all the people. A Church without walls has to become our focus even with our building. Brick and mortar sure can get in the way of our mission. “Father open our eyes”

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