What’s Next for Oak Hills? (Part 1)
June 28, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
My favorite Bible software “died” this last month. The news came via email on June 1 that “As of June 15, Bibleworks will cease operation as a provider of Bible software tools.” I’m disappointed as I use Bibleworks nearly every day. It is the number one tool I use in sermon preparation. I suspect that Bibleworks’ downfall was related to my biggest frustration with the software… it never went mobile.
The slogan, “Change or Die,” came to mind when I saw the news about Bibleworks. This slogan is frequently championed in literature and training materials for organizational leadership. The idea behind the slogan is that the world and culture around us is constantly changing and, if your organization is not changing with “the times,” it will die.
Remember Blockbuster? Borders? The same is true for any number of “big box” retail stores affected by the internet. Or Bibleworks.
I always have found it interesting when the slogan, “Change or Die,” is applied to the church. It’s applied in all kinds of areas: programming, mission, worship, preaching, communication, vision, and even theology. My knee-jerk reaction is to say, “No!” The church is founded on core, unchangeable principles rooted in the unchanging character of God and his gospel message. The “chief end of man” has not and will not change. The only infallible rule for faith and practice, namely Scripture, has not and will not change. Our Lord and Savior has not and will not change. “Change or Die” cannot apply to an organization grounded on eternal, unchanging truth.
There is a continuum, however, of the extent “Change or Die” is applied to the church. At the far-left end is the perspective that anything and everything can and should change to maintain “relevance” with the culture. On the far-right end is the perspective that nothing can or should change. Church leadership experts typically fall somewhere in between these two extremes on the continuum, when talking about change.
So, I do believe there are ways to apply the slogan “Change or Die” to certain areas of our church, although, I would use softer language. I’m not so concerned that the church will die if we don’t make certain changes. Effectiveness and fruitfulness may be affected.
Over the next few weeks I want to discuss what’s next for Oak Hills under this banner. I want to remind and encourage us to cling to those core areas that ought never change. When we look ahead to the future, we never want to forget who we are in Christ and the calling he has placed on us. Then I also want to highlight some areas where we can and should be growing (change!). I believe these kinds of discussion help keep us sharp for gospel fruitfulness and effectiveness.