I’m changing ministries.
I’m changing offices.
I’m changing my home address.
I’m even changing my email address.
Accepting God’s call to our new ministry is going to bring these–and even more–changes, but we know that this move is a good change because my wife and I know that it’s a “God” change. We know that God is definitely leading us through this difficult transition, so we are embracing both God’s hand and this opportunity with eager anticipation of what is to come.
In a recent Christian Standard article I wrote entitled, “The Magic Pill” I made the following observation (http://christianstandard.com/articledisplay.asp?id=329):
Change is not always a welcomed visitor in a church that values sameness.
Change is scary to people who cherish sameness, so sometimes they will passively, or aggressively, resist change. They refuse to give up their seat for a first-time guest, their old building for a new building, and their preferences in music styles—so they fight—afraid that if they give an inch on the use of hymnbooks, they’ll be dragged a mile closer to Hell by some pierced teenager with a loud electric guitar, a video projector, and an ungodly agenda.
But God designed this world and everything in it to change. Day to night, winter to spring, and birth to death are all essential cycles in a healthy life. The church is a body . . . and healthy bodies change. Healthy change is embraced and celebrated in healthy churches.
Change is also embraced and celebrated in the lives of healthy Christians.
Last week my wife stumbled upon an article written by a woman named Thelma Brewer. In this article Ms. Brewer makes an interesting observation about “change” and her experience in working with the young people at her church:
It (worship program in the church) is something which needs ones undivided attention for I find it is a problem that must have much investigation, careful planning and consecrated study. Especially is this true when dealing with young people. The program of Bible study and worship must be varied, there must often be something different. The young people demand this or they lose all interest and one by one they find other ways of spending their Sunday mornings. When we know this to be true it is a crime to refrain from changing the old “sot” program simply because “that is the way it has always been done” and therefore it must always be done that exact way. Variety is what we need!!
I like Thelma.
I know Thelma, or I should say, I knew Thelma.
Thelma Brewer was a woman who embraced new challenges.
After graduating from Cincinnati Bible Seminary, Thelma and her husband answered God’s call to serve as missionaries in India. Later, Thelma and her husband answered God’s call to preach in East Tennessee where she and her husband answered God’s call to plant churches start a children’s home, open a Christian book store, and raise their four sons.
Each of Thelma’s four sons grew up to become well-respected preachers in Christian churches.
One of her sons I know well, because he’s my father-in-law, John H. Smith, who has been faithfully preaching in East Tennessee for over 40 years.
I knew Thelma Brewer as “Mamaw Smith.”
She was an amazing woman and one of my heroes in the faith.
Thelma–or I should say, “Mamaw”–wrote this article when she was a student at Cincinnati Bible Seminary in the 1920’s, but I think it still rings true today–especially as we consider positive life changes that can bring us, and lost young (and older) people, closer to God–“Variety IS what we need!!”