Setting an example of change

October 20, 2009 — 8 Comments

fall-leavesThis past Sunday was no ordinary one . . . at least inasmuch as the message was concerned. Our pastor spoke from his heart about the topic of change.

Change is an interesting thing. It happens whether we like it or not. It’s one of those things that is so natural. Times change. Seasons change.  And yet so often in life, we get comfortable and begin to fight against it, working hard to protect that which keeps us feeling safe and secure.

Well, as the discipleship guy at the church, so much of the actual change process falls under my umbrella . . . which makes my job challenging as well as rewarding. I’m the one who gets to explain to teachers why we’re combining groups or changing spaces or doing something a little different than has been the case. It can be a scary thing, to be sure! (for both parties, I might add)

I guess what I’ve come to realize through my years in ministry is that even I tend to get stuck in ruts. Without adequate challenges, I can become dependent on that which is known. It’s easy to begin relying on lesson plans from days gone by rather than taking the time to re-create something fresh and exciting. It’s easy to call on the same leaders for recurring tasks because, after all, they’ve proven they can do the job. And it’s easy to rest on my laurels and tell myself that things are — dare I say it? — good enough.

Believe it or not, I am very aware of the various emotions that accompany change: feelings of fear, doubt, grief, loss, and anxiety, just to name a few. Change does not come easily for most of us. But I believe that when we stop changing, we stop growing — as individuals and as churches.

I like what the pastor said on Sunday, that we must take an unchanging message and repackage it in ways that are relevant to people in today’s culture. We can’t be eight-track Christians in an iPod world.

With a recent move to Arkansas, my family and I have experienced a whole lot of change in the past few months. And I kept telling myself that this blog looked good enough. But I knew that wasn’t the case.

You see, sometimes we fight battles in our heads that our hearts have already won. So, I’ve spent some time refreshing the ol’ blog . . . bringing in some new colors, new style, and a slightly new way of doing things.

I figure if I’m going to expect anyone else to embrace change, I’m going to have to set the example and lead out in my own life too.

fall-leaf-01So, I hope you enjoy the look and feel of the new blog . . . just some little changes here and there that will hopefully help advance the message of Christ to people who need to know about the hope we have in Him.


IT’S YOUR TURN!

  • What is the hardest thing about change for you personally?

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8 responses to Setting an example of change

  1. 

    Dear Garrick:

    I very much liked your post about change. One of the main reasons for that is because I have dedicated my whole blog (www.uncertainchange.com) is about change.

    I can relate to the feelings of fear, doubt, and anxiety. I agree that we should embrace and accept the change as part of our lives instead of running away from it.

    Seldom do people actually realize that change is what keeps us growing, keeps us learning and keeps our lives challenging. Without change, we would be stuck in the same place as where we started.

    I wish you the best of luck in trying to reach out to people and encourage them to try something different for a change :).

    Sincerely,
    Tomas Stonkus

  2. 

    Hi Garrick, and you have done beautiful work on your website. I to am a Christian and have recently gone through a change in my life from drugs and alcohol of 33 years to being clean and sober for 13 months now. Change is broad and I believe each individual has a choice whether or not they want to change. Change is a necessary element if one desires to better their life, or to allow the Lord to manifest himself within one’s heart (through His Word) that in turn changes our entire way of life. I believe time itself changes and here we must learn to accept the things that we cannot change. It’s what the serenity prayer reads: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, but give me the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. You see, we do hold some control over our destiny because we have a choice to live and lead life according to choice, or lifestyle. God created us in His image giving us the power of choice. So we do have control over change in how we feel, think believe, or act. Trials and tribulations are designed to make us stronger and to give all praise to the Lord for walking with us through those challenges. The Lord tells us in His word that, “All who says Lord Lord will not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven” and in today’s society with it’s new age Christianity allowing diversity. “Wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter into it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7: vrs. 13 & 14/NIV. So yes, we must continue to spread the Word of the Lord (sowing seed) and allow Christ to nurture the Word in one’s heart. Thank you for your encourage words and may the Lord continue to bless you and your household.

    • 

      Kevin,

      Thanks for your comments. And congratulations — not on 13 months of being clean and sober, but on each clean and moment strung together through God’s grace and mercy. I know there are so many struggles along the way. The Lord definitely desires for us to be new creations in Him, and it sounds like you are relying on your faith, which we know is the only way through which salvation is found. Glad to have you reading . . . please keep in touch.

  3. 

    Well growing up a military brat…I thrive on change. I actually see it as exciting! I like to learn and seek out new experiences, meet new people, and try new things.

    But as I ponder your question and think about my experiences with change, the hardest thing for me about change is saying goodbye. I’m just not very good at the “goodbye” part. I’d rather say…so long or see you soon. 🙂

    It’s hard to leave what you have known, what you have invested in, what you have learned to understand or the way you have lived for how ever long.

    Even though you are saying goodbye for good reasons and you are at peace with that….it can still make your heart sigh a bit.

    I recently had a friend that was called to leave a ministry that she loved (God has plans for her in a new ministry). Everytime she talks about her obedience in this change….she crys. She says, “why am I crying?? I’m not sad…it’s just hard to say goodbye.” Yes it is.

    Once you say goodbye and move forward though….what a blessing! When you take a step of faith…you will find God working.

    ~~Hollie

    How do you say goodbye?
    http://hearinggodspeak.blogspot.com/2008/04/time-to-say-goodbye-lesson-holy-spirit.html

    • 

      Hollie,

      I absolutely agree with you. Even when you know things are going to be better ‘on the other side’ (whatever that may be at any given point in life), there is a certain sense of loss. I definitely felt that when we moved from Texas. We knew it was time to go, and we really didn’t have anything tying us there . . . but it was difficult to leave. Fortunately, more than ever before, technology affords us the opportunity to better keep in touch with those we care about. Of course, there are those who live by the “out of sight, out of mind” principle. Maybe I’ll write about that another day.

  4. 

    You’ve hit us again where we needed it! The LORD has certainly given me some change. With Fay’s surgery, A LOT has changed in our lives:
    SLEEP-our hours are a lot different now..neither has slept well and nights and days are mixed.
    FOOD-our friends and family have brought in many good delights, but different from our usual mealtimes.
    CHORES-with Fay recovering, I have had to assume all of her daily chores. I am certified now as MR. MOM!
    CHURCH-we haven’t been able to attend since her surgery–longest time away in many years.
    SUNDAY SCHOOL-I haven’t taught for several Sundays now. Sweet Marguerite and Gene have filled in for me.
    DAILY THANKS-we both thank the LORD for her recovery-each little step and pray for the end to her continuing problems.
    COMMUNICATIONS-lots of cards, phone calls, emails, Facebook encouragements!

    So, your challenges about change come while we are in the midst of the biggest in our lives in a long time! Thanks for the heads up!!!
    GOD BLESS!
    John

    • 

      John, you have definitely had your fair share of change in the past few months. I’m glad that despite all the changes and transitions, your faith has never wavered. You’re a blessing!

  5. 

    I find it easy to BEGIN change. As a matter of fact, I LOVE planning it, preparing for it, and beginning it. It’s the follow through that is difficult, like keeping up with your gym commitment.

    When “change happens” we can only control out response. And our responsibility is to respond in a way that glorifies God and advances the Kingdom. That’s far easier said than done, with some of the changes that happen.

    But, change is ultimately good. We MUST change, or we die, individually or organizationally.

    Just $0.02 from Texas…

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