Your Voice: Elements of a change strategy

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Mark Snowden.

Your Voice: Elements of a change strategy

Change just to change is bad, but change to make a difference for the cause of Christ is a very good thing. So, what’s the best way to bring change in your church? King David liked to mix things up and in doing so, created a strong kingdom in a united Israel. He was certainly not perfect, but there are two events in his life that we can learn from in our churches today.

David and Goliath is a great change story. If I called it Attribution Theory, you’d probably tune me out. Let me put it this way, Goliath’s death was attributed to the stone in David’s slingshot. Some people see an invitation to church and show up. Some church members hear an announcement about the budget on Sunday morning and begin tithing. Bringing change is sometimes as simple as punching through the clutter and getting a clear hearing from a person that is open to your cause.

But not everything is that easy. When David was made king, he wanted to take Jerusalem as his capital. Now, David couldn’t just walk up to the bolted city gate with a slingshot and take Jerusalem. He needed a strategy based on research that would exploit Jerusalem’s vulnerable points. In David’s case, he deployed his troops up through the cisterns with flowing water on the southside of town.


So, let’s talk about how to change how your church evangelizes the lost. I’ve come to believe that we need to change how we communicate the gospel, especially with young adults and teenagers. At the Midwest Leadership Summit in mid-January, Trevin Wax presented some research that really got to me. In short, Dr. Wax pointed out that non-Christians in our culture today are all about themselves. Those without a saving relationship with Jesus believe good and moral people go to heaven when they die. Lacking God as the center of their lives, they believe that looking within makes you “Supreme.” And that is a huge conflict with the gospel. According to Wax, they believe it is possible to sin against yourself by trusting something you can’t experience. This means trusting God is a “sin” against yourself. And yes, that’s a 180 degree perspective.

Churches must embrace differences that have crept so deeply into society that even words like sin have been redefined. Social changes and things like norms take awhile to change, but they do when people behind them are intentional.

Bringing change to your church is possible. Addressing the status quo is not easy. At some of the training events I lead, I have to make sure I have a Peacemaker brochure with me! Pastors are likely to encounter acceptance from some and resistance from others in his church. There are three groups likely in your church that handle change in different ways. This is a simplification of what is called the Diffusion of Innovations developed by Edward M. Rogers.

  1. Innovators will try almost anything. They usually have a bit more money and education. They typically don’t wield much authority in your congregation. Innovators can be flaky and be seen church hopping. Yet, it’s this group that tries new things, often with outstanding spiritual results.
  2. Watchers are aware of new things that Innovators will try. When these people give some kind of change a try, it is more likely to stick. The majority of your church fall into this category.
  3. Resistant people are often afraid to lose their authority if they adopted the new thing going into the church. They are often considered the pillars of a church. In most churches, these people outlast others that have long left the church because changes didn’t happen. They usually control the communications channels and hire and fire the leaders.

Bible-based gospel

Changing evangelistic methods still relies upon the Bible-based gospel and just communicates it in different ways. So buck the status quo and give new consideration for innovators, watchers and the resistant in your church. Together, they’ll make inroads into spiritual deviations in our world with the Good News of Jesus Christ!

EDITOR’S NOTE — This story was originally published by the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association.

News to inform, not overwhelm

Navigating the news without losing our peace of mind is about selective engagement, empathy, setting boundaries, self-care and faith.

Developing strategies toward this end not only helps us to maintain our sanity but also transforms us into beacons of hope and love in a world that desperately needs it.

One specific strategy is to avoid non-stop news consumption.

Our minds were not designed to be bombarded with a constant stream of information, much of it distressing.

Tony Martin

The Three in me

Though I can’t explain the Trinity,

I know all Three have a part in me:

God, my Creator;

Jesus, my Lord and Savior;

Holy Spirit, my comforter.

Before God sent His Son to earth,

They had a plan to redeem
sinful man:

“Paying it forward,” we often call it.

Jesus would pay the debt,

Ere every sin I would commit.

Before I was even conceived,

He knew the me that I was to be.

Whether I am good, bad or ugly,

He still loves me unconditionally.

Jesus came and dwelt among man,

All according to their Master plan:

He walked and talked,

Taught and healed,

Was loved and despised,

Accepted and rejected,

Until His earthly mission’s end.

We know it all as we’ve read and heard,

The precious love story recorded in His Word.

Now may our Comforter, the Holy Spirit,

Help us to be sure that others hear it.

—My Own Ramblings

Janice Nabors
Southside, Alabama

Poem inspired by the current Bible study — “It’s All About Jesus”  — we are doing at Cherry Street Baptist Church.

God was present at the cross, and he showed us that He loves us in spite of disobedience, that He offers forgiveness to all and that He wants to be our partner in building a life filled with hope.

Michael J. Brooks
Alabaster, Alabama

“The reality of it all is that it’s only good news if they hear it in time, and our goal is to be where the people are and share the gospel with them,” said Don Lum, Mississippi Baptist Convention Board’s director of evangelism.

Samuel, director of iBIBLE Himalayan Outreach, reported the impact of The Real Story of Jesus from the missions field: “After the teacher showed the episode in Hindi, she asked the students who Jesus was. The students, who were only around 6 years old, shouted ‘Jesus is our Savior!’ followed by ‘We love Jesus!’ They kept shouting ‘We love Jesus’ over and over, and even the teacher could not quiet them down!”

“Believers should never look to ChatGPT for moral or theological guidance because it will not reflect our theological convictions,” said Matt Kimbrough, assistant professor of theology at Southwest Baptist University.

“Someone has asked me relatively recently, what is my ‘why’ behind running? I don’t think I’d be doing it if I didn’t have a knack for it. I think that because God has given me the ability to do it and to do it well that I feel in a way obligated to glorify Him in that by pushing myself not only in races but in training. I think it definitely puts me in a position to reach people that I otherwise wouldn’t be given the option to talk to,” said marathoner and University of Arkansas student Abigayle Money.

“We live in a day when some of the older people in ministry think the younger ones are irreverent, and the younger ones in ministry seem to think the older ones are irrelevant,” said O.S. Hawkins, who wrote “Criswell: His Life and Times,” “[Pastor W.A.] Criswell is the one man who bridges that gap. His life lessons and leadership principles are applicable to all today.”

“My dream and my goal is simply to keep reaching people and helping them to grow in the Word,” said 89-year-old Georgia church planter Donald Voyles. “My desire to preach and teach the Word of God has only grown over the years.”

“We are so grateful for the [Lottie Moon Christmas Offering] because we are able to remain on the field with our people for long periods of time without worrying about returning to the States to raise support,” said Anna, an International Mission Board missionary from Alabama. “We can educate our daughters, rent a safe apartment and get the language training we need because of the generous gifts of Southern Baptists.”

“It is not great people who change the world, but people who understand their weakness and place themselves in the hands of a great God.”

Kevin Blackwell
@DrKBlackwell on X

“If someone has been raised from spiritual death to spiritual life, you will see the difference.”

Jay Robertson
@pastorjaycbc on X

“If you want to be a leader, you have to get comfortable disappointing people. You don’t need to disappoint everyone, and some opinions are more worthy of protecting than others (e.g. your family). But if you want people to always be happy with you, don’t be a leader.”

Clay Smith
@claysmith79 on X




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