The reality of change in today’s culture is one of the unchangeable truths that we face. Change is a part of life in business, church, everyday living, etc. If you are not riding on the top of the wave of change, you will find yourself beneath it.
One of the great joys of living in Montgomery is the association with the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base. At Frazer we were always blessed with so many wonderful people, active, retired, and civilian, who were part of Maxwell. We had several retired Maxwell people who served on the church staff. It was one of the best moves I made as the Senior Pastor at Frazer.
The Air University, like everything else, must adapt to change. Maxwell is quite different today than it was 20 years ago. Military preparation and strategies are different. The Air University has a great leader in Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast. At a press conference recently he said, “Like any part of our nation, the ability to adapt and to grow and to stay relevant to the country is one of the most important things we can do. We’re adapting to the fact that the world is changing. We live in a world now where information is flowing faster than ever before.”
He went on to indicate that persons training leaders must take a fresh look at the process of how leaders are trained. Success is determined by the ability to emphasis the things that are still relevant, and to make changes where change is necessary. It is good for every business and church to listen to a military leader when he says that it is imperative to answer the question of purpose in today’s world, create a vision for accomplishing that purpose, and develop a strategic plan to bring to fruition that vision.
How well do we as a church do that? Refusal to change in the church is one of the reasons that major denominations in our country are declining. The United Methodist Church has lost members for the last several decades! Even the Baptists lost over 200,000 members last year.Is the church willing to listen? Sometimes it is in the church that we are most reluctant to make changes.
Someone has said the only place you find change in most churches is in the offering plate! One minister said his congregation is becoming more Christ-like…the same yesterday, today, and forever! Another minister decided to start changing his oil in his car himself. When questioned by his parishioners, he said he wanted every 3 months to change something without everybody complaining!
Let me be clear that the church should never try to change the message or the mission of the church. We must be ready to change our mindsets and methodologies and ministries to accomplish the message and mission. We cannot change the wind, but we can adjust the sails.
Lt. Gen. Kwast emphasized that the Air University wants to make learning for its people something that is a lifetime experience, something they do every day so that it becomes a habit. We all need to realize that 21st century learning is lifelong! Alvin Toffler said, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
I am glad that our military is living in the 21st century in preparing for the future. The Army (or Air Force) of the Lord must move into the 21st century and minister accordingly!
John Ed’s blog posts appear each week in For His Glory.
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