The Way of Renovation

How do we change?
How do I change?
How are we / am I changed?
Why is change so hard?

These are the questions I ask almost every day. At the core of my ministry and my being - is to help people flourish. To help people flourish, I must help them change. To be in the Christian ministry is to be in the ministry of life change.

To be in the Christian ministry is to be deeply associated with reformation, transformation, and renovation of the heart.

The evangelical church has a widely held and tragically flawed theory of change. It goes like this (albeit in many different guises). Information changes you. Ideas change you. Beliefs change you. Doctrine changes you. Truth changes you.

The short answer to that theory: NO THEY DON'T CHANGE YOU.

If they did, the church (the people of God, the communion of saints, the assembly of Christ) would look radically different than we do. We have all heard the necessary information on:

  • tithing,
  • evangelization,
  • social justice,
  • concern for the poor,
  • prayer,
  • mediation on God's Word,
  • taking up a cross,
  • denying self,
  • forgiving those who hurt you
  • loving enemies (especially those who hold opposite political and sexual views then you do)
  • etc, etc, etc.

And yet statistics tells us that most  Christians, most of the time - DO NONE OF THESE THINGS. In fact, I suspect that most Christian Leaders struggle with doing most of these things, most of the time! (That must be the subject of another one or two blogs!)

Here is a little experiment I recommend for those who work in the Christian ministry, especially preachers and teachers. Pick any of those topics. Preach your heart out. Drop a truck load of truth upon the listeners. Immerse them in what  the Word of God says. And then - measure change. See what happens. Discover how much transformation takes place.

Like the typical preacher, even (or especially) those who do expository preaching discover - not much changes. Studies show that the average sermon-listener can barely remember what you preached on by the Wednesday after. By Monday, they have forgotten 90% of what you said on Sunday!

The answer is not to pile on more information.

Information Overload is the enemy of transformation. Yet, that is how our preferred theory goes. They weren't changed. Then give them more truth, more doctrine, more Word, more explanation, more information. 

If you keep on doing what you've always done - you will keep on getting what you've always gotten. What will you get by doing more of the same. The answer is GETTING  MORE OF THE SAME. It is insanity to think you will get different results by using the same information distribution theories of Christianity.

Einstein, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different resultsFortunately, Jesus, the Apostle Paul, and andragogy (insights into adult education) all concur and collaborate to show us a better way of Heart Transformation.

Tune in tomorrow.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions Internaitonal