Metathesiophobia, or the fear of change, is one of the cause of many an anxiety attack and business meeting in the church. “Change Agents” as they have been called in the past, have been the basis for this fear. They are the ones that come in and attempt to lead churches down the “wide path” (cf. Matthew 7:13).
Let’s face it, the body of Christ is in a strange place today. One that I do not believe we have faced in the same way since the church’s creation a little less than 2,000 years ago. Our society is changing, and loving it. And because of this change, our members are faced with two choices; either embrace “change” and morph the blood bought church of Christ into just another denomination or strictly stand in the way of this “change” and hold to the traditions we have inherited throughout the ages (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:15).
But, I honestly believe we need to define our terms a little more when it comes to change. Sure, changing the Truth into something else is never permitted (Romans 1:25). But there is another kind of change that I believe is going to have to occur before we can make a difference in our world the way the Lord would have us to.
I’m not talking about adopting denominational and sectarian practices or beliefs, the change I’m talking about is addressing our shortcomings and approaching our faith and ministry in the ways God wants!
The “Status Quo” is a fancy word for “doing the same thing in the same way we’ve always done, regardless of its effectiveness.” And I believe the Status Quo is harmful to the church and to the souls of its members! And here’s why…
- The Status Quo forgets the importance of moving forward to perfection (Hebrews 6:1).
- The Status Quo allows complacency to take hold of the hearts of man (Luke 12:19).
- The Status Quo mistakes tradition for doctrine (Mark 7:8).
But, I believe there is a simple fix to Metathesiophobia and Change Agents; leaders becoming Change Leaders.
Let me define what I’m meaning here. A Change Agent wants change for superficial reasons (just for the sake of change, to make the church more like the world, to allow for other’s opinions rather than God’s Law) but a Change Leader does the opposite. If some sort of change is for the good of the church, either to help us reach more people with the Truth or to allow ourselves to be more faithful, the Change Leader sees that opportunity and jumps on it.
A Change Leader is a minister, elder, deacon, Bible Class teacher, or “regular” member (as if a member without a leadership role is somehow less of a Christian or something) that pushes forward but pushes against change for the sake of change.
A Change Leader is exactly what Christ was. He didn’t establish the New Law (Matthew 5:17) to appease man’s ideas, He did it for the betterment of the souls who would follow it!
Think about it. A leaf doesn’t change colors just because it wants to give someone the chance to take a killer Instagram picture. It changes because it is what is good for the tree. And, if it weren’t good for the tree or somehow harmed the tree’s goal of producing fruit and/or other trees, then that leaf would stay green and your Instagram would have 20 less likes at the end of the day.
Changing to appease man’s ideas harms the churches goal of teaching the Gospel and living righteously! But changing the incidental and/or traditional so that we can more effectively reach that goal? That is absolutely necessary!
Leaders, let’s strive to be Change Leaders, always looking for opportunities where leaving a tradition or practice will help us help others more than we have in the past. We’ve done amazing things in the past, let’s not sit on the Status Quo and watch as those differences fade into history, let’s keep it going!