The new mindset compared to the old way of thinking
Have you checked your thinking closet lately? What old ways and what new ways are going on all around you? The struggle with many people is: What are the old ways that I want to keep, and what are the new ways I want to accept.
Jesus noticed the problem and used a parable of wine skins to illustrate his point. (Luke 5:33-39) He understood. He knew the reality of change. He fought against some of the need for change that he was bringing himself.
Here are a few thoughts on the subject of churches and changes. Many, many more could be added to the list.
Old: The pastor is called by God to be a minister.
New: Every Christian is called by God to be a minister.
Old: Ministry is the task of the pastor, supported by the people.
New: Ministry is the task of the people, supported by the pastor.
Old: The people assist the pastors in doing what they believe God is calling the pastor to do.
New: The pastors assist the people in doing what they believe God is calling the people to do.
Old: The pastor has all the gifts required to nurture and care for a congregation.
New: All the people together have the gifts required to nurture and care for a congregation.
Old: The pastors bear the burden of ministry. The people hold the pastors up in prayer.
New: Both people and pastors bear the burden of ministry. They hold one another up in prayer.
Old: The pastor is accountable to God and the members for doing the ministry. Lay people who serve are accountable to the pastor.
New: All Christians are ministers and are accountable to God and the church leaders.
Old: Seminaries are to educate and train certain “called” people for the ministry.
New: The church is to educate and train the members to be ministers.
What would you add to the list? A little humility and a lot of honesty would help us explore how we can approach the changing world of faith and practice. Start with some humble prayer…and then look out your front door. Then, maybe…hmmmm, let me see. How do I type that in to Google for the real answer!
Joseph M. Westfall is a bi-vocational minister living in Oak Ridge. Since 1975, his ministry has covered pastoral positions in 17 churches across several denominational lines in six different states. He has special training and experience in interim ministry for churches in transition. He has a Biblical style and teaching heart. He encourages honesty and the Holy Spirit. His favorite response to a sermon he has preached? “You make me think!”