As we look back at the history of this congregation, we see that it is full of change. Yet these changes were not simply changes for the sake of change, but for the sake of Christ’s commission to His church to grow the Kingdom as God uses us as His instruments to connect others to Christ and His church, and to lead His people to be His disciples in whatever their walk of life.
Think about that first change undertaken - a core group of people, leaving the comfort of their home congregation of Immanuel to the uncertainty of a new congregation, all for the purpose of reaching more people for Jesus. A few short years later came another change - a move from the first place of worship in the basement of Immanuel School to a place to call their own. Once again the move was made from comfort to challenge; this time the challenge was, in large part, financial in nature.
These are just a couple of the many changes in the congregation over the last 50+ years. From other building projects, to changes in pastors, to the change of hymnals and in style of music, to additional services, to families moving in and out of the community, Peace has been in a state of constant change, moving from comfortable to challenged.
And that’s not even looking at the changes to the culture and community surrounding us! Life in 2017 is very different from when the church was founded and even different from ten years ago! For example, the evangelism programs used in decades past are no longer effective. Relational evangelism is much more effective now than going door to door. Another example is the use of technology. People are more visually connected today than they were in the past, and that impacts how we preach, teach, and communicate within our congregation.
The difficulty happens when the church becomes comfortable with the status quo and no longer wants to change for the sake of the unchanging Gospel. Instead, it decides that it has reached its goal and loses its purpose. In the process, the church becomes resistant to change and self-focused rather than Christ-focused (more on that in later weeks).
In life, and in the church, change has always happened and will continue to happen. Yet as changes happen here at Peace, be assured that it will be for the purpose that God has given us to reach out to those who need to know Jesus, and to disciple those who already do.
May God continue to guide us, reveal to us His will, and guide us to make those changes which best enable our congregation to make disciples who make an impact for Jesus!