Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Friday, June 01, 2007

Implementing Change in the Church

As this is the time of year when graduations are part of many people’s lives I thought I would join in with those celebrating their freedom if only for a short while. At a recent honors/scholarship assembly one of the presenters who had read bio’s and essays noted that these students were out to change the world. You will hear that a lot at graduations but in general the world will change them.

At a recent Sabbath school class the leader wanted to know how we can go about changing the way we do “Church”. In general I think he is in agreement that we should rearrange how things are done at church more in line with my previous articles on Sermons and the post modern church. In other words more time to discuss things in small groups and less time listening to a sermon.

Lets so for instance a group of people wanted to try different things for church, say Sabbath school classes of different types from 9:45-11 then gathering for song service for 20 minutes, 10 minutes of announcements etc. followed by a 15 minute sermon and then 30 minutes of small discussion groups dealing with the sermon topics. How would we go about changing our Adventist Church world?

How do ideas get implemented past the traditional crowd? Frankly that is where so many of our plans fall apart. We can’t please everyone so we stick to what is our tradition and we often don’t even try anything new. For example there are many Adventist churches that have two morning services because the facilities are overcrowded, but rarely do you see our churches utilize the afternoon and evenings. I would say the major reason is that our tradition is going to church on Sabbath morning and we often can’t imagine changing that routine. So what do we do to change something in our churches?

That is your assignment.

Here is what my recommendations are. First get together some people who want to see the change and gather together to formulate strategies. The idea has to be sold to the congregation as well as to the church leadership. Since many of our churches are still heavily dominated by the Pastor it will almost certainly involve getting him on board with the plan. So the group gets together with each other and works out the schedule of events and arguments as to the benefits and costs of change. They then invite the pastor to meet with the group, it may be necessary to do this will board members or Elders also though possibly not all at once. From there the pastor needs to become an advocate of change and also a facilitator who allows his sermon time to members of the group to express their concepts and prepare the congregation for a change. After a few presentations it should be possible to see if the congregation is ready for or against the proposed changes.

If change was easy all those graduating seniors would have changed the world many times over. But victories only come to those willing to work for them.

What are your ideas for bringing on change?

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