Dan Kimball posted a great, albeit lengthy, discussion of the nature of change in churches. He discusses change at a generational level versus a worldview level. In a previous post I talked about changing worldviews and how very difficult it is to move an organization to see out of a different lens.
It is soooo tempting for many church leaders to change the music, dress, technology, or seating in their church and consider their church "changed". They address generational issues of transition and change, including the style of music, the volume, and the decor, but become frustrated when the church doesn’t really change. Generational changes happen continually, and each generation leaves its mark. Generational change is, I think, rather evolutionary – each generation constantly evolving from the previous.
But when culture phase-shifts, during those brief periods in history when the deep assumptions, values, and underpinnings of society change (the dark-ages birthing the enlightenment, or the modern world birthing the post-modern, for example) a new type of change occurs. Generational change is still occurring, but changes of world-view exist on a sub-terranean level, causing great earthquakes on the surface of the church world. Instead of evolutionary change, revolutionary changes occur in a very brief period of time.
During this revolutionary change period, churches begin to ask deep questions about what it means to be the church. Issues beyond style, music, and clothing emerge that demand new lenses to see the world through.
And so it normally goes… a new-worldview leader, attempting to implement worldview level changes, runs aground an old-worldview leader (maybe a Lead Pastor, board member, etc) who doesn’t understand these new changes – BECAUSE THEY SEE THE WORLD THROUGH AN OLD LENS. Old worldview (OW) and new worldview (NW) have several frustrating conversations:
(NW) "but nothing has changed – we’re just doing the same thing in different clothes with differ
(OW+NW) "AUUUGH! I give up!"
What saddens me is how personal a lot of this gets. I know that if Jen and I have a squabble, and I don’t understand what she is trying to tell me, I will sometimes get defensive, take things personally, and begin to attack HER when all I really am is scared or confused. Churches and church leaders can react the same way… I know I have. Jesus lead me…lead your church. Remove fear, ego, pride, and selfishness as I/we realize it is not about us – it’s not about me… its your church.