Who loves change? I have my moments – like software upates. The worst-of-the-worst is Facebook. Their changes come unannounced and when you open up your page you have to figure out how to do what you knew how to do yesterday! Regular readers are well acquainted with my sense of humor. So it will not be surprising that I have shared this quip many times:
The dirtiest four-letter word in a Baptist church is: c-h-a-n-g-e
I’m a firm beliver in laughter. It’s good for the heart like a medicine (see Proverbs 17:22). And I also believe we are better off if we maintain the capacity to laugh at ourselves. It helps us embrace that thing we don’t like!
Change In Life
Ever heard of riding a dead horse? We use that phrase to describe people and/or institutions that don’t embrace change. And we also know what to do when/if we find ourselves ‘riding’ a dead horse:
Until we do that, we may find ourselves spending a lot of resourses on ‘hay’ for our dead horse. And let’s not forget that beating the dead horse won’t improve its gait! Doing any of that puts us in danger of being like this picture. So what’s the connection between country philosophy and missions?
The words of Benjamin Franklin come to mind. He said:
Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
He failed include life’s third certainty: change. And nowhere is it more important to embrace change than in ministry. The problem comes when people think we need to change our message. But the truth is, our message – the Gospel – is beyond improvement. It came from:
Our Eternal King Who is immortal, invisible and the only God. To Him be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen (see I Timothy 1:17)
Our message cannot be improved by alteration. To change it is to compromise it. And the result of compromising our message can be seen all across our society as people do what Paul wrote in the first chapter of his letter to the Romans:
For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened…They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – Who is forever praised. Amen.
What Can We Improve?
Since we have an immutable message, the only thing we change is our methods and that is where we often get in trouble. It’s always challenging to remember that only the message is sacred, not the methods. Jesus showed us that when He sent His disciples out two by two. He told them to move on (change) if the people where they were did not receive the Word.
So let me share the ‘change list’ as it has unfolded in 2023. In January, we opened up a new cycle of work in La Romana. We need teams to work there. That work will include pastor training but the things around that will be unique to that area. Those changes need to be embraced.
We have reached a milestone in our ministry in Samana. What’s next? We aren’t sure but I’ll be there with a team in late June. Part of our task in that week is determine how to move forward.
Our work in Belize has evolved on multiple fronts. And that is continuing to happen. Ministry is dynamic and we must adapt while never compromising principles.
We came home from Barahona with a brand new opportunity in that area. A new section of ministry and teaching will begin in November. I haven’t told you that story, but I will!
And let’s not forget the total makeover that had to be done to the website. This year began with the principle of laying aside every weight and that means change.
The Appointment – A ‘Replay’
Last week we shared The Appointment. God has opened a new door of opporutnity in Colombia. The story is in the video (below). That means there is a new work to undetrake and new friends to make. How many things are constant in our lives?
Our intention was to share a replay of the event since schedules don’t always allow everyone to be in the same function at the same time. There was a glitch. Surprised? Even so, God was all over that ‘mishap’ and I can’t share that publicly but if you want to call, I can tell you a God-story!
Due to God watching over us, the ‘replay’ is really a re-do. I had to remake things without Alfredo as he had already headed home. My comments in the video (linked below) are general and after he saw the re-do, there were a couple of things he wanted me to make clear.
His role with the Internation Mission Board was church planter and global strategy mobilizer in Latin America. In that capacity, Alfredo was facilitating nationals to be deployed in the 10/40 window. His work in the U.S. has been as an assessment and deployment consultant for training Hispanics for mission sending. Alfredo left the IMB at the end of December 2022.
This is the biggest of all the changes we could embrace. So PLEASE see the video. You’ll get to see Alfredo and his beautiful family and some of the work they have done in multiple countries. And then please take to heart the THREE things at the end of the video!
Soli Deo Gloria!