Scott Hodge

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Church Transition

Nov 20, 2006
14 Comments

My friend and soon to be fellow Mac user, Tony Morgan from Granger Community Church, asked me to throw a few thought his way on church transition for his blog.  It barely scratches the surface of the subject, but you can check it out here.


14 Responses to “Church Transition”

  1. Dave says:

    Good article, I think that transition also takes a great deal of faith as well, faith of the Leaders, in that they feel that this is exactly the direction God is leading them and then faith on our part as the sheep, to trust in the leadership and faith that God will see us through. That plus a great team of volunteers who will help the leaders even if they don’t understand perfectly, but are willing to trust God and trust the leadership. Like the potter and the clay, my attitude has been to keep reminding myself that if this is the direction God is leading us, then who am I to argue with God? The cool thing about God is that the past, the present and the future are all the same to him, in that he already has been there and knows what has, is and will happen and that there is nothing that will surprise him that he hasn’t already known was going to happen and has already been in the process of resolving it.

  2. annonymous says:

    SHOULD CHANGING THE “DNA” OF A CHURCH BE SOMETHING ANYONE SETS OUT TO DO? WHY ARE CHURCHES FEELING THE NEED TO CHANGE? ARE WE CHANGING HOW AND WHAT AND WHY WE DO TO FIT WHATEVER THE TARGET AUDIENCE IS IN A GIVEN ERA? ARE WE PREACHING ON TOPICS THAT THE UNCHURCHED ARE TELLING US TO PREACH ABOUT? ARE WE COMPROMISING OUR MESSGAE TO DO THAT? OUR WE COMPROMISING SCRIPTURE TO DO THAT? ARE WE TRYING TO BE THE “FLAVOR OF THE MONTH? B/C IF WE ARE, WE WILL BE HARSHLY JUDGED WHEN WE STAND BEFORE GOD. CHANGE FOR THE SAKE OF CHANGE IS DISASTEROUS. SCOTT WILL HAVE TO ANSWER TO GOD AS TO WHY HIS CHURCH LOST ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE-ESPECIALLY IF IT WAS ONLY BEACAUSE HE WANTED TO CHANGE FOR CHANGES SAKE AND CULTURES SAKE! YOU DONT SHAKE-UP A CHURCH BECAUSE POPULAR CULTURE CHANGES OR TIMES CHANGE. SCRIPTURE SAYS CHRIST FOLLOWERS ARE NOT TO CONFORM TO THE WORLD- NOR SHOULD WE CONFORM OUR MESSAGE JUST TO BE HIP OR POPULAR OR TO HAVE A LARGE AUDIENCE. NOR SHOULD WE FOCUS ALL ENERGY ON PUTTING ON A GOOD SHOW AND THEN CALLING IT A DAY. IF A GREAT SHOW IS THE ONLY FOCUS, PEOPLE WILL END UP IN HELL BECAUSE THE REAL MESSAGE OF SIN AND THE CONSEQUENCES THEREOF IS NOT EXAMINED IN NEARLY ENOUGH DETAIL- PROBABLY BECASUE IT IS NOT A POPULAR AND “SPECTACULAR” SERMON TOPIC.

  3. Dave B. says:

    Why change? Let me simply explain it like this, I have a doctor friend of mine who said to me several years ago,

  4. Johnny Laird says:

    Man, that “Anonymous” dude gets around! ;-) I’ve seen him on dozens of websites, often really strong on opinion, but so very very shy. You know, not wanting to attract attention to himself :-)
    Peace & blessings, my brother.
    Keep on keepin’ on , Scott

  5. Joni says:

    I wonder why we tend to assume that transition in a church is never God’s idea? I’ve seen it done well and poorly. In my non-leadership role opinion, it would seem that God has a purpose for each church body that careful prayer and consideration will reveal. Because I’ve been witness to it being done poorly years & years ago, I am just starting to grasp this “change/transition” mindset. The differentiation between a stylistic change and a heart change made ALL the difference in the world to me and helps me get it.
    From a scriptural standpoint, weren’t the 4 gospels written with a different reader/culture in mind? I think that’s accurate–can someone confirm or refute that for me? They are not identical in content but communicate a different perspective not to appeal, but to resonate with a particular culture. Similarly, in today’s mission field, it is really important to have a handle on the culture you will be living in and to explain God’s truth in that context. Again, the message isn’t different, just the approach.
    I can imagine how scandalous it must have been for the Jews in Jesus’ day to have been under the law for so long and then hear Jesus say that the truth will set you free, not the law. How ’bout THAT for change?!
    I have no doubt that some changes going on in churches aren’t always for the right reasons but really, how do you judge something like that? Its a matter of trust in the leadership of the church to follow the Holy Spirit. And “anonymous” is right, its the church leadership that takes on the burden and consequence(or blessing)of their decisions. I used to spend(waste)too much time second guessing my past church leaders, but boy, I have my own responsibilities that I’m accountable for. I thank God that He has’t asked me to be a part of that kind of decision-making or discernment process. Anonymous, please keep asking the questions and looking for the answers. You obviously have a passion for this and its worth the exploration. Sorry for the ramble, Scott!

  6. steve says:

    In response to the last post–YES you are absolutely right! The four Gospels were written by four different men, who although guided by the same Spirit, had four different audiences in mind. Matthew was written for a Jewish/Hebrew audience and he spent a lot of time addressing Jesus’ Jewish genealogy to illustrate that he was in fact the Messiah. He also gives a more historical account of Jesus’ life. Mark on the other hand seems to be writing to the existing Roman church and while not giving as much detail into the historicity of Jesus’ life and works, points to their miraculous nature as if to edify the Apostles. Luke, as he states in the introduction to his Gospel wants to give an “ordered account” of Jesus’ life and work. There are many details, and there is appeal to a wide audience–many of whom might have been turned off by religion. (sound familiar?) His audience was primarily Greek though. John, who also wrote the “newest” Gospel showed how Christ transcends Jewish religious beliefs and was/is eternal. Again–this would appeal not only to Jews but to Romans used to pagan god worship that promised immortality.
    The point is that God speaks to different people in different ways-whether through Bach hymns, Gregorian Chant, or Switchfoot. Newer expressions (as Bach once was) are unavoidable and necessary to keep this a living Faith that grows and reaches out.
    Sorry for the preseminary ramblings. I would be interested to hear some Gregorian Chant at the Orchard though (just kidding..)

  7. Maria says:

    Hey! Good to stumble across your blog. I’m a broadcaster in London, UK!
    Every blessing
    Maria
    http://www.inhishands.co.uk

  8. Maria says:

    Hey! Good to stumble across your blog. I’m a broadcaster in London, UK!
    Every blessing
    Maria
    http://www.inhishands.co.uk

  9. John Coziton says:

    In response to Dave B, I must say I have seemed to touch a nerve with you. However, you will be held accountable for your actions-as will I. And yes, you will be judged- as will I. Put a sugar coating on it if you want but that is reality. I love good music in church as much as anyone but I also need to be convicted when I am preached to. That is the duty of church leaders; and if that means preaching on sin and the consequences thereof periodically, then that is what needs to be done! But this message that Jesus loves me and and never going beyond that in challenging believers (and non-believers) with our messages does no one any good when it comes to eternity.

  10. Dave B. says:

    Mr. John (a.k.a. anonymous),
    Let me ask you a question, because it seems like you use the word judgment a lot. It’s like a permanent fixture in your vocabulary, like a yellow stain on the front teeth of a chain-smoker.
    See, when you say things like, “we are going to be judged for our actions,” that leads me to remember youth pastors talking about how, on judgment day, God was going to go over every single thing you’ve done, like watching reruns of Seinfeld. (IF you think like this, then I am glad you aren’t God.)
    Now, when you say “held accountable”, do you mean, you are held accountable (or judged in this case) for your actions…if you are “bad” enough, you will go to hell…and if you are “good” enough, you are in with the big man upstairs?
    Once again, while spouting some seeds of truth (ie. judgment, etc…) you have mistakenly misused the truth. It reminds me of what the apostle Paul told some new believers, “they have a zeal for God, w/o knowledge.” Pronouncing judgment on non-believers, using scriptural text, but misusing them.
    Is judgment an important facet, absolutley, I just don’t believe you are placing these words in the right context and the right spirit.

  11. John Coziton says:

    Dave B
    Yes, you and I WILL be held accountable and yes God will ask us what we have done with what he has given us- and what we have not done. This does not mean we will go to hell for not doing absoultely everything correct. However, we WILL answer for our actions and inactions.
    That is a certainty. You should not be approaching this with fear or apprehension but as an opportunity for spiritual examination and growth.

  12. Transition can be a great thing if GOD is really in it! We must be 110% sure of God being the architect of the “transition” and not just some “church growth” guru.
    Transition can be a deadly thing if GOD is not in it. Need I say more?

  13. Scott Harris says:

    Scott,
    Man, I need to come to your blog more often (instead of relying on bloglines). You’ve got more controversy than Driscoll!
    I’ve got one question for those that think churches should stay the same: As what?
    What people are doing when they argue against change is really showing how incredibly self-centered they are. They don’t want “church” to move to far from their preferable “style” or familiarities.
    It never ceases to amaze me that some preach laying down their life for the sake of the gospel but they will not lay down their glory days!

  14. Dave B. says:

    Well said Scott…well said….

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