‘Pews News’ September 2015

“Did you know ….?”

….. that the Head of one of our national banks was recently forced to resign because he did not introduce change quickly enough?

Extraordinary, because many of us are very happy with change – as long as things stay the same. But change is a part of life.

Apparently we make a new liver every six weeks, a new skeleton every three months, a new stomach every five days and a new skin every month. And yet in the church, we often expect and hope that everything will stay the same.

So what could change?

Well, certainly not God.

After all, “I am the Lord and I do not change” (Malachi 3) and “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13).

So could it perhaps be us?

It’s possible that without realising it, many Christian communities have allowed tradition rather than truth, fear rather than faith, culture rather than Christ (John 14:6), and society rather than Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to dictate what they do.

And yet, “if we are listening to God, then you will be prepared for radical change” (Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury).                                                                                                                   And the greatest change of all, said Jesus, must come from within (Matthew 15) because a Christian is someone, who is willing to be changed by Jesus Christ.

So how might this affect the church?

Well, instead of asking ‘what do I want,’ surely we should ask ‘what might God want,’ and particularly,’how can we better reach out to those, who are unfamiliar with Christian teaching and worship?’ (Mathew 28: 18-20).

For one thing is certain.

“To stand still is to go backwards” (Alice in Wonderland). Therefore, we do need to “Adapt or Die” (Kevin Petersen) because “Change is the price of survival” (Churchill).

After all, if we always do what we’ve always done, we will always be where we have always been, and between 2012 and 2014, the Anglican Church lost 1.7 million worshippers, which is surely a reason for change!

With best wishes,

Charles Jefferson