Over the past few weeks I’ve gotten this question more and more often: are we ready? It usually comes to me in an email sometime after a service. Someone hears what we’re talking about, what we’re praying for, and what we’re hoping for, and wonders if we mean it—wonders if we really are going to be a church that makes room for lives that don’t look like our own lives, sins that don’t look like our own sins, and people who don’t look like “our people.”
My answer is unequivocal: no we are not. At least two reasons come to mind . . .
CHANGE IS HARD
To be a different church body—one that is willing to go wherever God wants us—requires us considering change and then actually changing. From the top of who we are to the bottom, we need to be honest in how we consider our church, our ministries, and our time—all of it. I was working out the other day and told our instructor she can never leave. Why? Because I’m used to the way she leads our class, and I’m used to my workout buddies. If that changes I may not know what to do from 4:30-5:30 Monday through Thursday.
There are many reasons we don’t like change. Some are very valid. Others are simply because we do not know what’s on the other side, or that our changing will actually be effective. Those are valid, but they aren’t set in stone. I believe that everyone who trusts Christ and enjoys the gospel has some part of them awakened when they consider how God might use them—all of us—for new and unique purposes.
An article that I use to remind myself to the need to consider change is Tim Keller’s Why Plant Churches. It reminds me of the constant reality that change is inevitable if we want to reach new people—change and church multiplication. It also reminds me of why churches our age have difficult times changing.
FAITH IS REQUIRED
Who likes faith? I mean, at one level we all have to say yes. But many—myself included—take known over unknown every day. If we put ourselves under the complete care of a gracious God, how do we know that what comes back will be worth it? I think fear keeps us from stepping out into what’s unknown, but God is bigger than that unknown (1 John 4:8).
So, are we ready? No. But do we need to be? No. The Lord is our strength, and through faith he will keep us near. We need not have all the answers, because he is our answer. Not being ready is a good place to be. Ready?