Saturday, December 4, 2010
How Can the Church Help? Part 3: Willing to Change.
I believe that Michael Monroe is correct in his assertion that the church must do five things in order to become safe places for adoptive families: Become Missional, Become Open and Willing to Learn, Become Honest and Prepared to Get Messy, Become Willing to Change, Become Committed for the Long Haul.*
In this post I want to look at "Become Willing to Change." For those that celebrate Advent, we know this is a time of preparation, hope, and expectation. A prominent figure in the first Advent was John the Baptist. John was "a voice of one calling in the desert, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'" (Matt. 3:3) It was his job to help the people prepare themselves for the coming of Christ. How were they to prepare? John's answer was, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." (Matt. 3:2) Repent is not a word we use often today. In Greek this word is "metanoeo" which means to change one's mind or purpose.
The Kingdom was near because the King was near. With Christ coming into the world things were changing. God's people needed to change in light of the coming kingdom. Repentance is God's way of creating a favorable environment for His Spirit to work in our lives. Those that were committed to this type of change received John's baptism of repentance and prepared to live in the Light of the Kingdom of God.
What changes do our churches need to make to fulfill God's plan to look after orphans and widows in their distress? Remember this isn't some add-on. James says that if our religion (worship of God) is to be pure and undefiled we will do this. This may call some of us to radically realign our thinking, plans, purposes, and practices. Churches that are willing to change "will serve as an integral part of the visible Gospel being lived out in the lives of countless adoptive and foster families, all for the glory of God."**
* Monroe, Michael http://tapestry.irvingbible.org/index.php?id=1558 accessed February 6, 2010