I was in church recently (to tell you the truth, I was pretending to listen while actually checking my emails). When I heard, “there are eight deadly words that can kill any church,” I looked up — THAT caught my attention. Then the preacher said, “those words are: “We Have Never Done It That Way Before.” I thought, “you know, he’s right.”
I’ve known plenty of churches and organizations that refuse to adapt, make any change, all the while slowly withering away. You’ve probably seen it, too. Jesus wants to meet our needs, and for me that’s getting off the sidelines.
As ministry leaders, hubby and I are invited to many churches to tell others about Cary John Efurd Ministries. We’re excited to do so. We went to one home church for bible study, preaching, worship, then fellowship. Met new friends and enjoyed our day. Another week we went to a local Baptist church that gathered with their Hispanic congregation for sermon, worship and singing with translations in English and Spanish. We have been to a Messianic Christian assembly. We have witnessed the Spirit of God moving everywhere we go.
Paul‘s missionary work shows that he understood the concept of the body beyond the “walls” of a specific local gathering. “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.” (1 Cor. 12:12–13)
To recognize our common faith is the goal of worship in diverse settings. It is prompted by God‘s Spirit moving through our churches, uniting the diverse parts of Christ‘s body. However, His Spirit can work with us only if we are willing to listen to others‘ experience of God‘s love, willing to recognize ourselves in other Christians, willing to learn other ways of expressing ourselves to God, and willing to confess our dependence upon the Holy Spirit to create God‘s church in the world.
Henri Nouwen once said, “One of the main tasks of theology is to find words that do not divide but unite, that do not create conflict but unity, that do not hurt but heal.”
All of this to say, the eight deadly words “we have never done it that way before,” can be a good thing. I’m seeing less exclusivity and more inclusivity in believers. That to me is the Church of Jesus Christ, and it’s especially meaningful as God continues to grow Cary John Efurd Ministries.
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