Transformation has been described as:
1. A commitment on the part of a congregation to be constantly looking for the new things that God is doing in our midst and to welcome and participate in them.
2. A process by which these new things can be discerned.
3. The renewal the Holy Spirit can bring about as a result.
As congregations seek to become “transformed,” I believe fusion is absolutely necessary. Transformation by its very definition deals with change. Change, especially in an established, mainline denominational church will almost NEVER happen without a change in the “demographics.” By this, I mean that in order for most churches to change, there must be more than a desire to change, there must be a catalyst. True, that catalyst can be the pastor, but that places a burden that the individual pastor may or may not be able to provide by his or herself. Even if the pastor is able to get the Session to agree that change is necessary and good, old habits are hard to break. “We’ve already tried that in the past” or ‘We’ve never done it that way before” creeps into many an attempt to transform a congregation. That is why I believe that Fusion is the answer. In order for many churches to change (even if they really, really want to change), there will need to be new people added to the mix to make it happen; new people without any preconceived notions as to what has or hasn’t “worked” in the past; new people that are excited to see the work of God done by their church.
Am I saying that transformation cannot happen without new people being added to the mix? Of course not! What I am saying is that new people being “fused” into the church are already a catalyst for transformation to take place. While transformation can (and should) lead to growth, I believe growth is more likely to lead to transformation!