church and change

Many church people fear change… often for good reasons (eg. convictions about theology) and often for bad reasons (eg. "Wilbur Smith sat in that pew for forty years).  But as years go by, as neighborhoods change, as culture shifts, some adaptation from a local church is necessary.  Consider this quote from a major study of generational trends in American churches:

"Although they often resist innovation, congregational leaders and their members must- if they are to survive- adapt to new challenges as the population and cultural context change.  Religious adaptation is commonplace in the contemporary world, a major reason being the pace at which new generational cultures now evolve.  A major task for any religious community today is thus to ‘bridge’ worlds- that is, to understand the various life experiences and outlook of its followers, to negotiate with one another over competing interpretations, and to carry on a larger dailogue with historic tradition… Gradually, if not always very visibly, religious institutions reinvent themselves."[1]

Why do you think the different generations in churches struggle with change?

[1] Carroll, Jackson W. and Wade Clark Roof.  Bridging Divided Worlds: Generational Cultures in Congregations.  Jossey-Bass, 2002, 13.

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