I was attending a church meeting the other day where the leader was announcing a replacement of the church’s road-front signage. I suppressed the urge to shout, “Hallelujah” and backflip off my chair at this announcement. As he spoke about the new LED sign that would be arriving I overheard someone a couple of seats away whispering, “What was wrong with the old sign?”
“Are you serious?!” I thought rather loudly… *sigh*
You see, the sign wasn’t broken. It had just been sitting fat, dumb and happy for twenty years. It was… retro at best and about as appealing to the eye as a solar light garden gnome.
But, as I said, it wasn’t BROKEN. Not. A. Scratch. On. It.
So what’s your stance when things aren’t broken?
My friend a couple of seats away seems to think
1. If it ain’t broke… don’t fix it
The old adage gets a great work out. It’s there to avoid the pitfall of changing things unnecessarily or too often. Unfortunately, holding this view means you can be on the backfoot of change. You slow change down to a halt where things only get permission to change when they break. And even then you still might not change it.
Things remain the way they are until it is screamingly obvious that change is required. You know that the room the kids’ ministry runs in is small, but everyone fits. A bigger space would be better but you decide you’ll shift spaces when you get enough kids. After all, it’s not like you’re spilling out the door. It still works. It’s not broken yet. *sigh*
Please don’t be that church that only changes things when and if it has to. Please don’t be that person who refuses to make way for new things and people to come because you are holding so tightly to something old and people who are gone.
My husband, on the other hand, loves to quote Steve Chalke:
2. If it ain’t broke… break it!
On the complete opposite side of the spectrum sits Peter. He loves to ruthlessly tidy and removes junk. Things don’t get a chance to break into our household. They are gone as soon as Peter can sniff they might not be needed.
Its the same in church. Something might be working fine but Peter is eager to try something new, make a dramatic change and avoid nostalgia. This attitude has its benefits, believe me. It generates excitement around change. It gives permission to take big risks. It doesn’t allow for emotional attachment to items, processes, programs or gifts.
The one downfall is that sometimes you throw out things you shouldn’t. Some things are worth keeping or are needed later on. Some things are precious even though they are not practical. We have a song for children each week because we treasure their involvement in the service. But the way we do it right now won’t work forever. The idea can remain but the practice will have to change. How do we protect and bring the treasurable things in our churches through changes?
So is there a third option Leash?
Yes, there is.
3. If it ain’t broke… examine it.
Just because something isn’t broken doesn’t mean that it works properly. All of our church ministries need to undergo regular reviews. All the stuff we do and the stuff we have needs to be examined again and again. Our church sign may not have been broken but that doesn’t mean that it was working well either. Part of the process of examination is asking, “What is this here for? What purpose does it serve?” and, “is it doing it well?”
Our sign on the main road is the first impression of our church you get. If we were a cafe, I will take one look at our sign, assume it was the kind of place I would receive Nescafe quality coffee and never go in. If its purpose is purely to get information across to the public then the sign is great! But if its purpose is to hint at the kind of church community you can expect inside then….
Examine things more closely.
It might not be broken but that doesn’t mean it’s serving its purpose either.