Continuity and Change

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Change and continuity are often seen as opposites, but they’re also frequent companions.

Think about how you are the same, no matter your age, as the day you were born. Just as an acorn grows from being a large nut to a sprig to a 200-year-old mammoth of a tree, you have gone from being an embryo to a fetus to a newborn baby to a toddler to whatever you are today.

And yet, you are the same person. Your DNA has never altered. You are who you are.

The same goes for us as a collective church body. Trinity has grown immeasurably, far beyond even one congregation to now helping to give rise to eight others, and we have progressed from being a handful of couples in a living room to now being over 1,000 souls as members and regular attenders.

Why does this matter? Because I would say that it requires wisdom and perspective to faithfully hold to what should not change (our identity in Christ and our Mission, Vision, and Values) and to graciously accept and even rejoice in what is changing.

Growth is change. And yet, what is there in us that resists it? Is it that change requires us to yield, to work more or at least often, to work differently? C.S. Lewis notes, in his book, The Four Loves, that one enduring love that we all share is the love of the familiar. We develop familiar routines. We enjoy some of the same enduring things, places, or meals. We resent change, and undeniably, the greatest change we all face is death — where we will all change from this realm to eternity.

I do not believe that resistance to change is a sin. But it can be. Especially if there is a refusal to yield or serve or give way for others to flourish. This is a prevalent idol in many churches. It objects to anything new as inherently wrong simply because it deviates from “what we always have done.”  But if you evaluate many of the wonderful milestones in your own growth, would you have wanted your loved ones to have objected to “change?”  I bet when you were potty-trained, that was a welcome change. And when you could feed yourself, make your own bed, do your own laundry, manage your own school work, drive yourself and eventually make your own money, I’ll bet there was rejoicing.

So why don’t we rejoice in a similar way when growth happens in a church? Surely, one reason is that change has not always been for the better. People leave the faith. Church leaders go back on their convictions. Congregations give up on their beliefs or their mission. So, change can be for the worse. But growth in Christ is not that. We have seen scores of people come to trust in Jesus as their God and Savior! They changed from unbelief to belief, from outside to into God’s family, from selfishness to love, and from condemnation to redemption. These are the greatest changes that any human could ever hope for.

Corporately, we can see that while the size of the congregation has exponentially grown, historically, we have always had people (and structures) for oversight, shepherding and teaching. While the people and the numbers in those roles have changed dramatically, the continuity of that work has resolutely endured.

Trinity’s leaders are working so very hard to lead, navigate, and prepare for our church's sustained growth. Our Mission, Vision and Values remain the same. Please pray for them and for us as a people to rejoice in healthy growth and abide faithfully in Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and yes, forever.