Here’s a pretty convincing piece of research about the need for change in the Aussie church via Steve Taylor.
Steve (who titled his post ‘Landslide Victory For Fresh Expressions in Australian Churches’ writes:
Some 66% of church attenders agreed that the traditional established models of church life must change to better connect with the wider Australian community (only 11% disagree).
For an even larger majority, this was personal. 82% claimed that they would support the development of new initiatives in ministry and mission in their church (3% disagreed).
So why on earth would there be resistance?
My own reflection is that people would rather hang on to what little they have got rather than risk losing it. To try something new is to risk pissing off the faithful few who remain and that would be suicide. But to do nothing is to choose a slow and pointless death.
What a choice…
Seriously its a lame choice, but in the face of that, the vast majority still choose a slow painful death. Why?… My guess is because change is difficult, time consuming and painful. The status quo might be lame, but we know how to do it.
Its the ‘club’ mentality overriding the missionary heart. The path of least resistance wins out and the possibility of change evaporates with the desire to simply do what comes easiest. In a busy world its an easy default position. “It may not be effective, but we at least know how to do it!”
The research seems to say people want change, but I am actually not convinced. I think people think that they want change, but its usually change without risk, or change without any impact on the current state of play.
Low cost change.
Its a hedging of bets so that if the new initiatives don’t cut it we can always steer back to the tired (no spelling error)and tested expression that will see us thru to our graves even if our kids will find it bizarre and maybe even abhorent.
The research gives me hope, but I also know that people don’t like pain, risk and uncertainty… so it may be a much greater stretch than we would hope.
We can only hope.