During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.
(Exodus 2:23-25 ESV)
One of the most challenging words in ministry is “change”. Change brings angst to any organization because it shakes the “norm” to which people are accustomed. Think about your drive to church. I bet you take the same route each and every Sunday. For most people it is never even a consideration to go another way. Why? Because they are accustomed to it and people do not prefer change. Most people will consider making a necessary change only if circumstances outside of their control interrupt their way of life. God has a unique way of imposing His will in our life to push us to make the necessary changes to accomplish His will. Here are a few thoughts about the children of Israel and their response to necessary change:
- Even though God brought them to Egypt He didn’t intend on them being there forever (Genesis 50:20; 12:1-3)
- One common snare in most organizations is the thought, “it worked before so if done correctly it will work again”. While that is a good hope for us that like routine the fact remains that things change. God didn’t intend on the children of Israel being in Egypt forever. In the same way, the church of today should not have the same form twenty years from now. The function should stay the same (Acts 2:42-47) but the methods used will change because it’s a part of God’s growth plan. Hard to accept? Research how and where “church” took place 400 years ago. I bet the form is different from today. If we intend on being God’s people we must accept the fact that God moves us, not for our comfort but for His Glory.
- When “what had always been” changed they responded appropriately by seeking God’s direction (Exodus 2:23-25)
- When “what we have always done” stops working we must be willing to go to God in prayer and seek His direction for the organization. The children of Israel came to Egypt protected by the highest order of the land. But when that protection ended and the people were squeezed what came out was desire for God’s guidance.
What has changed in the surrounding culture that has had an effect on your organization? Are you willing to get out of “what we have always done” and seek God’s guidance for a new direction?