Heraclitus, an ancient Greek pre-Socratic philosopher once said, “there is nothing permanent except change.” There are a lot of people who hate change. For some, change stirs strong emotions like sadness or anxiety, and for others it is just easier to keep things the way they are. Nevertheless, like Heraclitus said, change is inevitable.
Our world has changed drastically in the last 10 years. Even within the Church, things have changed, including how it operates and how we do ministry. We have experienced some of that change in the Texico Conference and I see churches tackling relevant and important issues more than ever before. Churches are getting more involved in their communities, meeting their communities’ needs and extending a helping hand. Our church ministries are thriving.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, I had the opportunity to help one of our conference pastors take food to people who could not leave their homes. Most recently, the El Paso Meraz Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church was actively assisting immigrants across the United States border by providing food, tents, clothing and other everyday necessities. I was able to join their efforts and it was a blessing to talk and pray for many of them. It was an even bigger blessing to see that the church was working to meet their spiritual needs, as well.
Church growth and change can take many forms, depending on the ministries and mission of the individual church. Nonetheless, change is important because it is an indicator that a church is not stagnant. According to Cheyenne Bryant, a psychology expert, “change prunes things, circumstances and people that are not serving our better and highest good.” In other words, change can help get rid of things that are not serving us. That same principle goes for our churches. Change prunes and can help a church thrive. I enjoy gardening, and when I prune my trees and plants, they multiply! The process is not always easy or feels good, but in the end, it can be the difference between a church that is prospering or one that is not.
Our goal as a Church is to allow the Holy Spirit to work and bring about change, not only in our lives, but in the lives of others. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “and we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” Romans 12:2 states, “do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
Both these Bible texts encourage change and transformation by telling us to contemplate and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. He will guide us, and show us where the change needs to take place, both in our personal lives, and within our churches. Moving forward, I invite you to look at change as something less hurtful, and instead look at it as something helpful that can enhance our Christian experience. My prayer is that we continue to see change in our churches and that we look to Jesus for His Infinite transforming power and goodness.
By Lee-Roy Chacon, President