Summary: A sermon that examines the necessity of change for growth.
“Cultivating a Culture of Change”
Acts 2:41,47, 4:4, 5:14, 6:1
Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
4:4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.
5:14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)
6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied,
How many of you like change? We are really creatures of habit aren’t we? If you don’t believe that just look around this sanctuary and see how many of us sit in the same places almost every time that we come to church. Some of you have so many blankets and pillows that it looks like you are planning on spending the night. But as you read through these Scriptures you can’t help but notice that there is a theme running throughout. The church was growing rapidly and change was the rule of the day and as it grew it created some issues that needed to be addressed by the church in order to enhance and continue that growth. The church responded to these issues through change. Change is fundamental to life. Someone said one time that the only people not changing are in the graveyard but even that is not quite true. Biologists tell us that our bodies are made up of millions of cells and these cells are dying and new ones are growing. Biological change is normal and healthy.
I. Why should we change
A. Ministry stagnation
Dr. Paul Chappell
When diagnosing the health of your church, you may notice your church is busy but not spiritually growing. You and the church are doing everything you have done before, but new Christians are not being saved, baptized, and discipled. Let us examine two obstacles which you may need to overcome.
The first obstacle is stagnation. This means “to cease to flow or move” and relates to the flow of ministry, especially as it pertains to winning and discipling new Christians into the body of Christ—helping them to assimilate into a class, connect with people, and begin growing in their faith.
Stagnation may be a problem of capacity. Your church may have reached its present seating capacity, and you may need to begin a new service. You may need to change your service schedule to allow for more Sunday school classes.
I am not for creating change just for the sake of change, but sometimes fresh vision brings change that “increases the circulation of the body.” It gets something that was stagnant moving once again. Just as exercise causes your body to increase circulation, grow in health, and be safe from sickness, so the exercise of faith and forward motion causes a church family to break through the barrier of stagnation.
Have you ever heard of orbital decay? It is the process of prolonged reduction in the altitude of a satellite's orbit. It happens when there is nothing, no force or power exerted upon the satellite too keep it in orbit. Earth’s gravitational pull will eventually “pull” the satellite into earth’s atmosphere where it will burn up. Churches do this too! Churches have orbital decay when they don’t change!
Something must change if that is the case!
B. Ministry sterilization
What is ministry sterilization? I’m using this phrase to describe what can happen when a church fails to conceive, when there are no babies in the “oven” and no sound of crying from the church nursery. Churches should intergenerational to be healthy and any church that has too much gray hair in its congregation is not a healthy church. Any church that leans disproportionally towards AARP is in trouble. When the median age of your church is Social Security age you are in trouble. Something must change if that is the case.
C. Ministry Strangulation
How many of you know what a “bottleneck” is? I very seldom use an object lesson but let me demonstrate what I mean. See the shape of this Coke bottle and this Coke glass? They are quite a bit different aren’t they? One is narrow at the top where the liquid comes out and the other is wide at the top. I’m going to ask a simple question. If we put the same amount of liquid in each container and I turned them up which one would empty faster? Obviously it would be the glass because there is no constriction where the water comes out. Sometimes, and there are several reasons for this, a church or a ministry within a church becomes constricted resulting in slow or no growth and until a change is made to remove the constriction it will not grow.