|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “Be smart, be strategic
Our Bible verse for today: “To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win Jews; to those under the law, like one under the law – though I myself am not under the law – to win those under the law. To those who are without the law, like one without the law – though I am not without God’s law but under the law of Christ – to win those without the law. To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. I have become all things to all people, so that I may by every possible means save some. Now I do all this because of the gospel, so that I may share in the blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:20-23 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Flexible is smart and strategic”
In yesterday’s devotional I said that no church can be all things to all people. However, in today’s passage it sure does sound like Paul was in fact trying to be all things to all people. Was he? And if so, what does that say to our churches?
Paul actually was not trying to be all things to all people – at least, not at the same time. What he was illustrating was his flexibility to shift between models of ministry as necessary in order to be most effective in whatever cultural setting he found himself. When he was with Jews, he tailored his activities to fit the setting. But when he found himself in a new ministry setting, he stopped doing what he was doing and began using the strategies most appropriate to and most effective in the new ministry setting. Paul was as flexible as he needed to be in order to maintain maximum effectiveness as ministry settings changed. The message never changed, but the methods had to.
There’s a lesson in this for our churches. Over time, the conditions within which our ministry is being conducted change. The physical location of the church may remain the same, but with the passing of time things change. The ethnic make-up of the neighborhood may change; the most effective means of communication change from generation to generation; music styles change; etc. That being the case, the church needs to adjust just like Paul did. Also, the make-up of the congregation changes over time in terms of spiritual gifting, talents, and abilities. That determines what a church is and is not equipped to do.
Not all churches are the same because not all ministry settings are the same. One of the reasons there are so many different kinds of churches is because there are so many different kinds of people, and there are so many different ministry settings. There’s a church that’s right for everyone and for every setting precisely because God gives churches the freedom to be different and to adjust as necessary to be most effective in whatever the setting may be.
As times change, as neighborhoods change, as generations change, churches must change too. That will often mean being flexible enough to let go of the old and to embrace the new. Being flexible is smart and strategic.
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