A New Way of Being the Church

“The financial world will continue to change. If you’re staying the course in this new landscape, 
you may be missing out on opportunities and jeopardizing your future. 
Because following the same old path can lead you in the wrong direction.”
Advertisement by BNY MELLON: Wealth Management in 
The New Yorker magazine, March 18th, 2013 issue.
“Nor is it enough to do the work of ministry if what you do is headed in the wrong direction.” 
IVP Praxis Publishing – excerpt from statement of purpose.
     In my early twenties my parents gave me the perfect birthday gift at the time, a state-of-the-art Panasonic Record Player. It was a slim, compact marvel packed with all the latest technology available. My favorite feature was the “electronic eye” that would scan the record, identify the position of each music selection, and then permit the programming of the selections to be played in any order. The feature also permitted the elimination of any selection that I didn’t like!  
     Today, records are difficult to find. The gift is obsolete technology.
     Similarly today, my son has seen the continued technological improvement of his favorite pastime, Nintendo. His first system was many years ago and provided one-dimensional graphics.  Then the N-64 System with three-dimensional graphics and a ton of new features became available. Today, I have simply given up on the name of the new systems he enjoys. I thought Nintendo had reached its apex. I should have known better than to underestimate a profit-driven, ever market-expanding corporation. Now my son wants the latest in video game technology. He can hardly bring himself to play the relic of former days that sits in his bedroom. Nor is there a market for him to sell his old equipment. No one wants it.
     State-of-the-art of yesterday is not state-of-the-art today. The same is true for ministry. What worked yesterday rarely works with the same results today. As popular author and Presbyterian Church leader, Ben Johnson, observes, “No longer can the church bury its head in the sand, pretending that the ‘old ways’ can reach a contemporary generation that does not understand the language of faith.”
     In his brilliant and absorbing book, New Day, New Church, Johnson examines the issues facing today’s church, proposes a new model for a New Day, and offers practical, how-to suggestions and patterns for a church in transition.
     My vision is that we will increasingly grow dissatisfied with yesterday’s technology and build together a new way of being the church for a New Day. The motivation for this is clear: to effectively reach hurting people and connect them with Christ. Old ways of being the church are failing to do this effectively.
     The question before us then is: Will we resist change because we are more committed to tradition and familiarity or are we committed to do what it takes to introduce increasingly more people to Christ? I hope we make the right answer.

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