My wife will tell you, that I really, really HATE when a server asks me that question. If I wanted them to keep the change, I would have told them to keep the change! Unfortunately, as a pastor, one of the hardest parts of ministry is seeking to change a congregation that doesn’t really want the change. If we wanted you to change us, we would have told you! Well they did tell us that, but in reality, many of them were lying to themselves. We are by nature creatures of habit, even in church. Look around the next time you enter the sanctuary. Chances are, the people will arrive around the same time and be sitting in the same pew that they were the week before (and the week before that…)
Churches want to have a good name in the community, a surplus in the budget, new people coming in, and to do it without any change on their part! Guess what? If you keep doing the same things in the same way, you will get the same results!
So, how do churches change? They change when they begin to let the Spirit take His proper place in their lives. The Spirit of God is the most ignored aspect of the Trinity in many, if not most, mainline denominations. I grew up in a fellowship that had its beginnings in the camp meetings of the early 1800’s. In these camp meetings, people would faint, run around, sing, and even bark like dogs! They were so enraptured by the moving of the Spirit that they couldn’t help themselves. Yet, if any of those would have happened in my home congregation when I was growing up, they would have dialed 911 (well, there wasn’t 911 back then, but you know what I mean!)
Now I am not saying that we need to start barking like dogs in order to see the Spirit at work in our congregation, but I am saying that it is time to quit pouring water on the fire of the Spirit and let the Spirit take control. What will that mean for a congregation? I can’t tell you for sure, because I have never seen a congregation that was totally willing to surrender to the Spirit. What I can tell you is this; if we truly want to change and become what God has called us to be, we better start listening to the Spirit and DO what the Spirit leads us to do!