Part of me dislikes change – perhaps a sign of growing old.

Another part of me is intrigued by change, wondering what the future holds.

This battle between lovers of change and lovers of tradition spans the centuries – inside and outside the church.

Personally, I draw a boundary between my basic beliefs about the faith and my views of church structures and ways of worshiping.  There are core beliefs about God that I will not surrender, whatever the current fad.  But I am willing to give ground on the way the church worships and is organized.

I do believe, however, that there are certain principles which should guide us when we try to bring in change.  Do these structures and worship styles bring us closer to God?  Do they help us grow spiritually?

Or, are we trying to entertain a jaded generation suffering from a surfeit of television and video games?

I admit that the song styles of 50 years ago are out of touch with the current generation.  And every generation of hymn and song writers has stolen from popular music.

I enjoy many worship choruses of the last 15 years.  There are lilting songs that bring me before the throne of God.  But some other choruses seem to me to say very little about God.  And constant repetition does not improve things for me.

You can see that I’m a cranky throwback.

As for church structures, I am not sure that any really new structure has been invented in hundreds of years.  My wife and I and our small children joined a church in 1975 that was considered to be on the leading edge of change in our city.  It was centred on small groups and a very open style of Sunday service with people sharing their needs.

Now, people talk about small group ministry as if it is something new.  But, when you think about it, it is as old as the Book of Acts.

The early apostles set themselves the task of teaching the word of God and leading group prayer.  Their aim was to help believers become more like Christ and keen witnesses to Jesus.

That is still the main task of the church, whatever its structure or style.

[My wife and I will be away until the end of May so I will not be posting anything for the next 10 days.]


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