Changing Directions

One of the key issues for any organization, particularly the church, is not the efficiency of the organization (which is doing things right), but its effectiveness (which is doing the right things). The church must rethink its current processes in order to determine if it will effectively fulfill the Great Commission. As the ancient Chinese proverb says, "If we do not change direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed."

The church is far more than a human enterprise that rises or falls on the management and organization we bring to its efforts. All our efforts are worthless apart from the energizing presence and power of God (See Ps. 127: 1). Yet we must avoid a pious irresponsibility that produces passive believers who, as pastor Rick Warren says, "use spiritual-sounding excuses to justify a church's failure to grow." The balance is found in Proverbs 21:31: "The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord." Victory rests with God, but we must prepare the horse to the best of our abilities.

Rethinking may mean that the church has to change. Difficult as this may be, it is absolutely essential. It will prove ruinous if the church allows itself to maintain a business-as-usual approach. The change a church undergoes, however, cannot be merely cosmetic. It must go beyond "tinkering" – making small adjustments here and there to structure and format – to "restructuring" – introducing new models and changes to adapt with our ever-changing culture.

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