We should pray for men who fear God more than man. We should seek to be leaders who aren’t afraid of change. The Pharisees were stuck because they refused to change. In the end, all they held sacred—the Temple, the Sabbath, the rules, the rituals—were all laid aside. They died for the wrong things. They lost the meaning and purpose of their faith.
We can’t let that happen. We must rise above ourselves, our prejudices, our preconceived ideas and ask God for fresh power and boldness to face the times in which we live.
Since I’ve been in ministry, much has changed.
Those who have changed with the times (but have not changed the message of the gospel) have survived and thrived. Those who are stuck in “we’ve always done it that way” have plateaued or they are dying. Eight-hundred churches close their doors every year in my denomination. Why? We refuse to change. We refuse to see a lost world. We refuse to let go of our petty preferences, plans, and positions.
Change will make some current leaders of churches disqualified. They have become like Pharisees, stuck in their ways, and they are dragging the church down with them. They may feel they are right, but they are dead wrong.
What hinders the average church? Why is it so hard for churches and leaders to change?
1) Some are more concerned about what comes out of denominational headquarters than what comes in a prayer closet.
2) Some are hindered by a Constitution and By-laws that are held in a higher position of authority than the Word of God.
3) Some because of pettiness. They can’t see the forest for the trees.
4) Some because they try so hard to relate, that they never do.
5) Some are fascinated with fads. They are constantly changing and not anchored to the rock.
6) Some are fascinated with the past. We are to remember and build on the past, but not worship it.
7) Some are afraid of power brokers, committees, or getting fired.
8) Some are always preaching against the sins of the flesh, but never bother to mention the sins of the Spirit like gossip, envy, strife, jealousy, bitterness, anger, etc.
9) Some have left evangelism and missions to professionals. They talk it but never do it. They send money but never say, “Here am I, send me.”
10) Some think revival is antiquated. They are set in their ways. They sit, soak, and sour.
11) Some have failed to guard the unity and fellowship of the church.
12) Some have compromised on moral and ethical issues. That which the Word says is black-and-white is just grey to them.
13) Some are just full of pride. They are impressed with their degrees, facilities, programs, or history.
14) Some lack respect for the authority of the pastor. God calls pastors. Sheep need a shepherd. The last time I checked, sheep don’t tell a shepherd what to do; they follow the shepherd.
15) Some pad their statistics to look good at all cost.
You can come up with your own. All of the above, in my opinion, are signs of a church or a leader who is afraid of change. Until you get over the fear of change, it’s going to be hard to justify calling yourself a leader.
(copyright Michael Catt, All Rights Reserved)
Michael served as the President of the Large Church Roundtable, the Southern Baptist Convention as an IMB Trustee, President of the Georgia Baptist Convention’s Preaching Conference, Vice President of the Georgia Baptist Convention, and President of the 2008 Southern Baptist Convention Pastors’ Conference. He has spoken at conferences, colleges, seminaries, rallies, camps, NBA and college chapel services, well as The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove. Michael is the recipient of The Martin Luther King Award, The MLK Unity Award, and a Georgia Senate Resolution in recognition of his work in the community and in racial reconciliation.
Michael and his wife, Terri, have two grown daughters, Erin and Hayley.