I was at a gathering of people at church last night, one being our pastor. We were discussing the evolution of our particular church and that of churches in American in general. Apparently nearly 4000 churches close their doors annually due to dying congregations. Relevance. Their lack of revelance in the lives of those in their community. Our pastor reminded us that in remaining relevant to those in our communities has to continue to change as we get older and those coming in the doors should be younger. In doing this successfully, we must be willing to let go of alot, if not all, of our own things we like or feel comfortable with. We must continue to change with the times. He said the most amazing thing. "I have given up absolutely everything I love about my job as a preacher." Now, please understand he was not saying he no longer loved his job. Not at all. He was simply saying that God has shown him that he has needed to let go of any sense of routine or the aspects about his job that he always looked forward to. God has replaced those things with other things he loves and enjoys, but they aren't things from his own desires or thoughts. They are from HIS desires for us. And by letting go of the sense of self in doing a job, our pastor has been HIS tool for growth and touching the lives of those in our communities. Our church was once one of those about to close its doors to now being a congregation of well over 20,000, four weekly services and a new satellite location in another town 40 miles away.
Change and letting go of control this way never lets us arrive at a place where we can relax and be comfortable. It continues. It moves, constantly. Our comfortableness must be found in the change, in the work that is being done in the lives of those around us, in stretching ourselves to keep moving and growing with it all. The word to remember is relevance.