Some things you just can’t change. That doesn’t mean they can’t change, just that you can’t change them. God can change them, but you can’t. There are some things that need to change but only will change when your people choose to surrender more to the Lordship of Christ. But that, even of itself, is something you can’t make them do.
It’s important to know what you can change and what you can’t change. Why drive yourself crazy worrying about and trying to change things you can’t change? Here are some examples:
Flaky Sunday morning attendance. Have you noticed that Christians are attending church less and less frequently? If your church is like most churches then on any given Sunday morning anywhere from 25 to 30% of your regulars are not there. When I was a new Christian we were in church every single Sunday. Today there is an increasing percentage of Christians who attend church twice a month, maybe once a month. They’re not disgruntled, they like their church. Doesn’t this drive you crazy? Don’t let it. There’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t change this. God can, but you can’t. Oh sure, you can preach a sermon on why it’s important to be in church, you can try to guilt them into coming more regularly…but it won’t work. They’ll misinterpret your attempts and think you only care about numbers.
The back door. Everybody wants to know how to close the “back door.” Visitors come in the front door, stay a while, then leave out the back door. How do we keep people? How do we prevent turn-over? You’ve probably been to workshops or read a book by some “expert” telling you how to close that back door. You can’t. Stop hitting your head against that wall…or that door. Now if that back door is wide open, maybe there are some things you could do to close it a little but you can’t close it shut. People are going to come and people are going to go. Do what you can to provide opportunities for newcomers to get plugged in but don’t drive yourself crazy trying to close the back door. You can’t. One experienced pastor told me this week, “I tried closing that door but it doesn’t have a lock. They just open it up and stroll on out.” There’s a pastor who understands that there are some things you just can’t change.
Can you come up with other things you can’t change, things that are beyond your control? I bet you can. Why drive yourself crazy trying to change things only God can change? Remember the story of the man who came up to another man who was hitting his head against a wall? The first man said, “Why are you hitting your head against that wall?”, to which the second man said, “Because it feels so good when I stop.” Get it?
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