Change is not a Four-Letter Word, it is at the Core of our Faith

by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director

“I’m sick of hearing about change” is a common refrain I hear these days.

When I dig a little deeper, it feels like there are three perspectives on change in congregations:

  1. Just do it. Stop talking about it. What are we waiting for?
  2. What does this really mean for us? What needs to change? How do we do it?
  3. Don’t do it. We want to be left as we are. Why do we have to change?

Most of us will find ourselves resonating with all three perspectives, at different points in time, depending on what the change is asking of us.

Change is about loss and loss is about grief. We all fear different losses and grieve in different ways. It’s not a judgment on a person’s love for Christ or their church, however, change in the church is – dare I say this? – a question of our BAPTISMAL RESPONSIBILITY.

We are baptized into a community where we are entrusted with these responsibilities:

to live with others among God’s faithful people,
bring others to the word of God and the holy supper,
teach others the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments,
place in their hands the holy scriptures,
and nurture them in faith and prayer,
so that others may learn to trust God,
proclaim Christ through word and deed,
care for others and the world God made,
and work for justice and peace.
(adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship)

This is the promise we make over and over as we baptize. THIS is who we are. We are a baptizing people who have a responsibility to do what it takes to open the doors as wide as possible so that others may know Christ’s love.

In the end, it is not about the personal needs, preferences or favorites of any one of us. We are stewarding the community of the Baptized. It’s our watch and the world is turning fast, so we are stumbling as we run to keep up. Standing still in this whirlwind is not a faithful response to what it means to tend the movement of the Baptized. We have to move.

You belong to Christ, in whom you have been baptized. Alleluia.

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