Craig Groeschel posted “Working with God’s Seasons.” One point says:
If you had a singles ministry that worked for 9 years, but is no longer effective, celebrate the 9 years of success. Close it down and do something different. Don’t keep something on life support once its season has passed.
That applies to so many things whose time may have passed.
Most churches I know don’t hold a traditional Sunday night service–and maybe none at all (including mine). I grew up with that format, but since changing churches in 1989, haven’t attended a Sunday night service since. At my previous church, we did small groups, which were more effective. At Anchor we’ve never done anything on Sunday night. I wouldn’t call that “effective”…yet I don’t begrudge having the night free.
From my denominational perch, I see churches all the time that need to choose a different future, before one is forced on them. In most cases, they should merge with a nearby church, or just close. We were talking yesterday about churches in two different states that would be better off–the people would, and the cause of Christ in those communities–if they went this route.
There are many other things that need to turn out the lights. Christian organizations. Church traditions that mean nothing to current generations. Staid service orders. Women’s mission groups (okay, now I’m in trouble). Various church committees.
On the other hand…in today’s society, we tend to treat as changeable some things that shouldn’t change.
- If your marriage loses its spark, move on. Its “season” has ended, so admit it. Start a new season with somebody else. Wedding vows now sometimes replace “I will love and cherish you, til death do us part” with “I will love and cherish you as long as we are together.”
- If you’re unhappy with something at church, take your toys and go elsewhere. Loyalty is outmoded. Go where your needs will be met, not where you can be used by God to meet other people’s needs.
- If a biblical teaching just doesn’t seem to work in today’s culture, or otherwise seems unnecessary to you, discard it. Watch whatever you want on TV and at the theatre. Engage in whatever sexual behavior society considers okay. Pile up debt as you pursue materialistic mirages. Don’t get too attached to biblical absolutes.
- Tithing? Treat this quaint practice as optional. You’ve got too many financial needs to part with 10% of your income.
- Smoking, drinking, pot–these are harmless. Everybody’s using them. We need to relate to our culture, so feel free to indulge.
- If you experience any doubts or turbulence in your faith, hang it up. Maybe somewhere down the road you’ll want to rediscover God, but for now, if God just doesn’t seem to be pulling his weight, say good riddance. No sense clinging to something that doesn’t work for you. Because after all, it’s not about Jesus, it’s about you.